Are Mentor Bonds the New Trend for Great Comics?

Posted by January 8, 2017 Comment

Cover by Ramón Pérez
Cover by Ramón Pérez

There seems to be a bit of a trend at the Big Two which is leading to two great runs on series’, and, whilst still early days for the Marvel offering, the one for DC is regularly the best comic that they are regularly putting out.

I am of course talking Mentor Bonding.

Nova #2 variant by Cliff Chiang
Nova #2 variant by Cliff Chiang

If you’d asked me a month or so ago, it may have just been Father/Son relationship comics, but this week’s Nova#2 is definitely adding into it on Marvel’s side of the fence and is bringing the same feelings out of the reader, even if the relationship is quite different.

Over at DC, Superman is regularly the best comic the company is putting out, in no small part due to the welcome addition of the father/son angle between Clark and Jon Kent. There is a warmth that has been missing from comics for a while, and it is nice to see it back.

In Nova, that relationship is more of a Big Brother/Little Brother bond, and it’s fairly new as the two characters involved, Rich Rider and Sam Alexander, both Novas, have only just met. However, the second issue very quickly establishes this relationship and it’s clear parallels.

Interior art by Ramón Pérez and Ian Herring
Interior art by Ramón Pérez and Ian Herring

Sam quickly falls into a huge amount of admiration for Rich, even if he doesn’t want to admit it. He’s also at that age where he is trying to strike out on his own (though he kind of already has), but does keep looking to Rich. And Rich is seemingly revelling in nostalgia and also human connection which he seems to find easier with Sam than with his own family.

There is a sense of connection, of brotherhood, that is so quickly established, and well done too, that it feels like it’s been there forever.

Another really fun thing about this comic is that it makes several snarky but light-hearted bits of commentary on current comic plots, namely Rich’s disgust at having fought for the survival of Earth and died for it, only to come back and find that it’s heroes are STILL fighting amongst themselves, and this wonderful encapsulation of the whole teenage Original Five X-Men being brought to the present and getting stuck there:

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Written by Jeff Loveness and Ramón Pérez, with art handled by the latter as well, the series is already presenting a fun and intriguing ride, with plenty of heart to it as well. Tackling families, life, death as well as fun superhero adventure and larks, Nova feels the most refreshing and exciting the series has in a while, and already one of the better books Marvel is putting out at the moment.

Pérez’s art as well is absolutely beautiful, with frankly exceptional colour work from Ian Herring. Together, they create a finished product that looks oddly reminiscent of a classic comics’ finish. With newsprint having made a left-field re-entry into the comics conversation of late, this feels oddly prescient, but it works spectacularly well for the feel and tone of this book.

I’ve never personally been a huge fan of the Nova characters, with the exception of some runs on the series, but as a whole I’ve never really felt a connection to it. However, this new series of Nova has me hooked, and I am excited to see where it goes.

Joe Glass is a Bleeding Cool contributor and a comics creator. He is the writer of LGBTQ superhero team series, The Pride, which is available on ComiXology and here

(Last Updated January 8, 2017 10:57 am )

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About Joe Glass

Joe Glass has been contributing to Bleeding Cool for about four years. He's been a roaming reporter at shows like SDCC and NYCC, and also has a keen LGBTQ focus, with his occasional LGBTQ focus articles, Tales from the Four Color Closet. He is also now Bleeding Cool's Senior Mutant Correspondent thanks to his obsession with Marvel's merry mutants.

Joe is also a comics creator, writer of LGBTQ superhero team series, The Pride, the first issue of which was one of the Top 25 ComiXology Submit Titles of 2014. He is also a co-writer on Stiffs, a horror comedy series set in South Wales about call centre workers who hunt the undead by night. One happens to be a monkey. Just because.

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