Connecting the Dots: Nova’s Big Bad
There are two types of speculators: those who lead and those who follow. By the time news hits, cheap copies of relevant keys are gone and sometimes all that are left are overpriced, often lower grade scraps. It’s the individuals who actually read and research comics who ultimately profit by making insightful, sometimes far-out, connections that puts them far ahead of the market.
In thinking about a potential Nova movie, TV show, Guardians of the Galaxy appearance, I was thinking about potential antagonists. While both Richard Rider and Sam Alexander had many foes, one stands out: Anath-Na Mut, the Sphinx. The character first appears in Nova #6 (1977).
Cursed with powers and immortality from his Ka Stone, Anath-Na wandered the Earth for thousands of years hoping to find a way to die. Upon discovering Nova and his alien tech, he believes he can end his curse. Sphinx’s story continues throughout the original run of Nova and concluded in the classic Fantastic Four Xandar arc. Sphinx represents the immortal, behind-the-scenes manipulating powerful character that Marvel loves to incorporate both in the comics and on screen. (He went head-to-head with Galactus!)
In continuity, the Ka Stone is a fragment of the Lifestone Tree, which also empowers Ulysses Bloodstone, Basilisk, Dr. Spectrum, Moonstone, and Man Wolf. However, depending upon the fate of the Infinity Stones in Endgame, couldn’t fragments empower other characters in the cinematic universe or perhaps a stone travel back through time and become the Ka Stone?
Another character to watch is Meryet Karim, the later, female version of the Sphinx. She met Anath-Na thousands of years ago and her exposure to the Ka Stone also made her immortal and ultimately a perpetual foe of the New Warriors. Her origin was stretched out over eight issues of the first series. While her first cameo appearance is New Warriors #4 (1990), she does not appear in costume until #11. (With that long of a stretch of cameos, I’d bet on NW#4 and 11.) Issue #4 also features the first appearance of Psionex (Mathemanic, Coronary, Impulse, Asylum, and Pretty Persuasions).
While there’s no guarantee we’ll see these characters in the MCU, these issues are still cheap and have low representation on the CGC census. (Nova #6 has 43 copies and only five 9.8s and New Warriors #4 has a mere four copies.) Nova #6 reminds me of X-Factor #6, the first full appearance of another Egyptian character, Apocalypse, who got hot, before an ill-conceived movie brought the book back down to earth.
Hidden Gem: Check out the Brandon Peterson cover of Nova #32 (2009). Comichron reports there were 22,202 copies sold. There are four copies in the CGC census (three 9.8s). High grade copies seem to be scarce in the wild.