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Nova Phase
#1 and 2

writer: Matthew Ritter
Adam Elbahtimy

On an Earth not too far in the future and probably just to the left of our own, young Veronica Darkwater dreams of getting off-planet. Despite growing up to be a bounty hunter, and a good one at that, somehow the expenses of her life keep outweighing the profit that would make her dream come true.

And then one bounty looks to make the difference. If only Veronica could hang onto this mysteriously crucial gold coin...

And if only she weren't so clearly a video game character...

Actually, in Matthew Ritter's space adventure, that 8-bit magic, rendered by Adam Elbahtimy, is a plus. Nova Phase feels like a story heavily influenced by an early '90s childhood, but filtered through a slightly more adult sensibility.

It moves crisply and economically. Ritter introduces Veronica's target in the first issue, telling us everything we need to know about him with just a few well-chosen lines of dialogue. Some of that might also be familiarity; Elbahtimy's portrayal of the thug feels like a cut scene from a great Nintendo space game. He might not be the level boss, but he's threatening enough.

And then the second issue (both currently available on Comixology, then to be combined next month into a print edition from SLG) shifts the narrative to our obligatory lovable rogue. But it's also clear that Veronica, when she crosses paths with him, will be the much stronger character.

It's a fun book, and one that I might recommend works better as a digital comic, just because of its clear intention of feeling like an old-school video game. But unlike an 8-bit game, Nova Phase has a strong story that echoes its influences politely, but looks to be carving out its own territory nicely.

Whether digital or print, give it a look. Today on Comixology, #1 is free, #2 is 99 cents.


Derek McCaw

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