Rom continues his tour of the Marvel Universe, this time going right to its fringe as he meets Nova, the Nova Corps and the Xandarian New Champions. Sure, Nova has his own title NOW, but back then, he was on the outs. His own series had ended at #25 with his new status quo on Xandar, and aside from a Fantastic Four appearance that had pitted him against the Skrulls, had this Marv Wolfman creation left dangling in limbo (not THAT limbo). Can Rom help him fulfill his destiny like he did another Wolfman creation, Torpedo?
First, he has to meet Nova. Which is easily arranged seeing as a) he's in a Skrull ship and b) the ship stops near Xandar rather than Galador's "Golden Galaxy". Since this is a Marvel comic, they fight:
And since this is a Rom comic, the Spaceknight quickly hands him his ass. Mention of Earth pacifies Nova, and the two heroes exchange flashbacks. In fact, Nova seems plagued by flashbacks.
He's also bored stiff, having been relegated to guard duty while the New Champions and Nova Corps as gone out to meet the Skrull spearhead. But lo, Rom has arrived just in time to see the Xandarian force's victorious return from thei war with the Skrull Empire.
But I promised a Secret Invasion tie-in. As you know and are possibly doing your best to ignore, Marvel Earth is currently in the throes of a major offensive from the Skrulls, and it may be helpful to look at their strategy against Xandar and see 1) how it relates to Secret Invasion and 2) how it relates to the Dire Wraiths' own, and I say more successful, "secret invasion".
Obviously, the returning forces have been replaced by Skrulls. That's what shape-shifters would most certainly do. So once you get back to the enemy's world, what's the first thing you do? Infiltrate all levels of society? Get close to the leaders and assassinate them? No, the way to kick off a Secret Invasion is to DECLARE YOUR PRESENCE!
So that hasn't changed. At least Bendis is consistent with past portrayals. Advantage: Dire Wraiths. Rom's used to much worse - it's gonna be a massacre.
The only link is the shape-shifting, Rom. Trust me. Meanwhile, Nova also gets up to some badassery when he goes up to meet the Skrull-infested warship in orbit.
Turns out New Champion Diamondhead is a filthy traitor, leading to a silent fight between him and Nova (in space, no one can hear you bluster - despite the fact that we've seen a couple of space battles where Nova could indeed speak), which sends Diamondhead to his Skrully buddies.
Simple matter then to rescue the real Nova Corps and surviving Champions from a sort of Negative Zone/transporter buffer thingy called a "Dimensional Phaser". And it's back down to Xandar to finish the fight. How IS the full frontal assault strategy going for the Skrulls anyway?
About as expected.
Once the tide is turned and the enemy beaten, it's time for Mantlo to put Nova out of his misery. He's teleported back to Earth by Xandar's Protector, without his uniform or powers, to live a normal life. But can he teleport Rom to Galador? Maybe. As soon as he finishes his game of Tetris.
Moved? The Skrulls could take a page from the Dire Wraith handbook, that's for sure. They're moving entire GALAXIES about! None of this "turning into combinations of superheroes" malarkey.
Next week: The double-sized 25th issue!