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The issue begins with Rich Rider back at Harry S. Truman High School – where he is engaged in a basketball game and unfortunately loses. Mike Burley, who is on Rich’s team, doesn’t take kindly to losing and slams Rich against a fence. Rich offers an apology, followed by some snappy banter, that results in him being punched in the stomache. Ginger who is sitting in the stands watching it all tells Rich that they should go get ice cream.
At the ice cream parlor – Rich talks to Ginger about how he has figured out that it is his lot in life to always be average at everything he does. Mike Burley shows up and begins giving Rich a hard time when Ginger comes to his defense. When Rich tries to return the favor he’s struck by some form of energy and collapses to the floor.
At the hospital, the doctor reveals that Rich is in a comatose state and not responding to any form of stimuli. Rich’s mother immediately begins accusing Ginger – saying that she must have pushed Rich to try some kind of drug.
In his state of comatose, Richard is visiting by someone by the name of Rhomann Dey, one of the Nova Corps. Rhomann tells Rich that he has been selected to become the next Nova Prime.
When Rich opens his eyes – he is suddenly somewhere else. A Kree wearing the Nova Corp gear is leaning over him asking him how he’s doing. Rich states that he’s fine and gets up – and is amazed by his reflection. He’s older. Much older. Sixty Eight years old, according to the Nova Corp.
Rich calls for Worldmind and is surprised that he’s not attached to his mind anymore; and it is in fact now located at Nu-Xandar; where the two of them began rebuilding the Nova Corps over fourty three years ago.
Things continue to become increasingly more confusing for Rich as both Gamora and Phyla-Vell approach Nova. Gamora – who, as far as Rich remembered – had been trying to kill him and infected with the transmode virus – and Phyla-Vell, who had gone on to become the new Quasar. As he tries to figure it out – Wendell Vaughn – the original Quasar appears – his body made of light. This only confuses Rich more since Wendell was dead, last time Rich knew.
Wendell explains that Rich’s memory is not reliable thanks to the transmode virus that plagued Rich’s system. He also explains that Rich lapses during times of stress – but it was his body’s way of dealing and coping with the long war – the war that Wendell called “The Old War” – the war to drive he Phalanx out of the stars forever – and at long last, they were at the cusp of victory. They merely needed to annihilate the Phalanx from their stronghold world – Earth.
This causes another lapse in Rich. When he wakes up – he finds himself young again – and in his bed. His body crackles with energy – releasing a burst that shatters the wall. The next thing he knows he’s flying through the air with Worldmind giving him instructions.
The scene shifts again and Rich is once again his sixty eight year old self. Wendell, Gamora, and several other Nova Corps discuss how Rich is not healthy enough to lead them into the final battle – and Wendell elects that they select Phyla-Vell as the new Nova Prime.
Worldmind informs them that the Phalanx has launched a counter-attack, including eight million Phalanx Shock Troops – as well as Phalanx Select – which include the liks of Vision, Thor, Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Magneto, Black Bolt, Doctor Doom, Huk, and an assortment of other Earth heroes whom the Phalanx has assimilated.
The Nova Corps rush to action, leaving Rich lying there in the medical bay.
The scene changes again and Nova’s memory seems to pick up from when he had been flying for the first time. Worldmind tells him to be ready – but even as Rich asks for what – he sees it. A large alien creature in the middle of the street. As Nova, Rich slams into the Phalanx. The Phalanx adjusts to Rich’s fighting – and suddenly Rich blasts the Phalanx – not even knowing how he had done it!
Rich is saved by Rhomenn Dey who informs Rich that he has been deputized into becoming a Nova Corp. Rhomenn informs Rich that it was only one of many – and sure enough – several others show up. Together, Nova and Rhomenn begin blasting the Phalanx apart.
Rich asks why he was selected since he’s so average. Rhomenn explains: “Exactly. You are ordinary. You are also loyal, trustworthy, and plainspoken. You are an average young man from an average life. The Corps always recruit individuals who best represent the typical qualities of their species. They bring no arrogance or pride with them. No self-importance or elitism. They understand the responsibility. They appreciate the trust. They embrace the duty. They are the honest bedrock of the Corps.”
Rich’s memory shifts back to the future – where he shares the same speech Rhomenn had told him with the Kree Nova Corp that had been tending to Rich. Then Rich tells Worldmind to power him up – he was going to finish the war.
He finds out that the young Kree Nova Corp is Zam – the son of Ko-Rel. He tells Zam to come with him – and that they would show the world what it meant to be a Nova Corp.
Suddenly Rich wakes up in blackness. After some struggling, Worldmind is able to reach hm awakening Rich to the present – where he finds himself face to face with a Phalanx. He learns that the virus had taken over and was finding a way to break Rich – to find a weakness – but in the end – it could not – and as a result, it made Rich more confident – stronger than ever before.
Rich destroys the Phalanx that had hoped to break him. Rich now stood – very alone – on the planet Kvch – the homeworld of the Phalanx.