Nova (Frankie Raye)
Nova, in New Avengers #40 (June 2008).Artwork by Jim Cheung.
|First appearance||Fantastic Four #164 (November 1975)|
|Created by||Roy Thomas (writer)|
George Pérez (artist)
|Alter ego||Frankie Raye|
|Team affiliations||Heralds of Galactus|
|Supporting character of||Silver Surfer|
|Abilities||Use of Power Cosmic|
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The character first appeared as Frankie Raye in Fantastic Four #164 (November 1975) and was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist George Pérez. After several years as a minor supporting character, she became a herald of Galactus and assumed the name "Nova" in Fantastic Four #244 (July 1982) by John Byrne. The character was killed in Silver Surfer #75 (December 1992). Writer Kathryn Immonen and artist Tonči Zonjić revived Frankie Raye in the Heralds limited series in 2010.
Fictional character biography
Frankie Raye worked for the United Nations as an interpreter. She met Johnny Storm and became his girlfriend, despite her fear of fire. The couple soon broke up, despite an attempt at reconciliation by Johnny. A brief encounter by the two some time later results in an unpleasant reaction by Frankie. They eventually begin to see each other again. Her fear was eventually explained to be the result of a mental block induced by her stepfather, Phineas Horton, after she was accidentally doused with the chemicals which caused the android original Human Torch (his creation) to burst into flame, in an attempt to prevent her from using the Torch-like powers granted to her by the accident.
After breaking through the block, she regained her full memory and discovered her previously repressed superhuman powers. She aided the Fantastic Four for a short time, until she volunteered to become the new herald of Galactus. She took the name "Nova". Having previously demonstrated what the Fantastic Four deemed an alarming willingness to kill opponents, she claimed to have no compunction about leading him to sentient populated planets and proved that when she led the Devourer of Worlds to the Skrull home-world to consume it. Nova later attended the trial of Reed Richards by the Shi'ar Empire. When Richard Rider resumed his Nova identity alongside the New Warriors, he was briefly called "Kid Nova" to distinguish him from Raye.
Nova was later rescued from Skrull imprisonment by the Silver Surfer, whom she met for the first time. She then battled the Elders of the Universe. Galactus sent her to locate one of the Elders, the Contemplator, and she was joined in this quest by the Silver Surfer. They journeyed to the Coal Sack Nebula where they were captured by Captain Reptyl. After battling Captain Reptyl, Nova battled Ronan the Accuser. This was followed by a clash with a Skrull duplicate of the Silver Surfer and a romantic flirtation with the real Silver Surfer. Nova and Galactus battled the In-Betweener. Nova then turned her romantic interests toward Firelord.
Nova later encountered an injured Elan. She battled the second Star-Stalker, and then met the Power Pack. A stimulator device temporarily rendered her evil, until she was subdued by Reed and Franklin Richards, and Power Pack.
Frankie Raye was ultimately killed by the alien Morg, who had replaced her as Galactus' herald. The demon Mephisto later made it appear that she had returned from the dead in a failed bid to steal the soul of the Silver Surfer.
In the weekly mini-series Heralds, a character named Frances appears. After stabbing a customer at the diner where she works following a disruption from space that led to the destruction of a S.W.O.R.D. facility and the release of many cloned scientists and prehistoric life forms, Frances speeds off in a car where she meets a clone of Phineas Horton. After crashing the car while attempting to miss him, Frances looks up at Horton and says "Father?" while the Horton clone greets her with, "Hello, Frankie." As the series continues, female superheroes Emma Frost, Hellcat, Monica Rambeau, She-Hulk and Valkyrie find her and after a brief discussion where they speculate that she could be a returned Frankie Raye, which she denies, claiming her name is Frances, they agree to take her to the Baxter Building. At the same time, a fully flamed Nova arrives in New York, causing Johnny Storm's powers to activate automatically.
Powers and abilities
Nova originally gained her superhuman powers as the result of a mutagenic reaction to an exposure to unknown chemicals. Originally, she had powers similar to that of the Human Torch: flame generation, projection, and flight.
Her powers were later enhanced exponentially by the infusion of cosmic energies by the world-devourer Galactus. She gained metahuman strength, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes. She had the ability to manipulate cosmic energy in the form of stellar fire, and which allowed her to project any form of energy possessed by a star, including heat, light, gravity, radio waves and charged particles. She also had the ability to project streams of stellar fire for distances in the hundreds of miles, and to mentally control the flame she projects (for instance, to maintain a sustained ring around a person or object at a fixed distance). She also has the ability to fly at superluminal speeds through intergalactic space and traverse hyper-space. Finally, she possessed near-total physical invulnerability, as was evident when she was once punched by Phoenix III with such force that it launched her from Earth and slammed her into the moon's surface, forming an impact crater in the process. She later expressed amazement that she was able to even survive such a blow, let alone withstand it completely uninjured. Nova's entire body, particularly her head, is plumed with cosmic energy resembling flames.
Frankie Raye was fluent in more than one language besides English.
Writer-penciler John Byrne and inker Terry Austin produced a serialized story titled "The Last Galactus Story", which appeared in the anthology comics-magazine Epic Illustrated #26-34 (Oct. 1984 - Feb. 1986), and detailed an all-new adventure for the character. The magazine published the first nine serialized installments of a what was to be a 10-part tale. Each ran six pages, with the exception of part eight, which ran 12 pages. The magazine was cancelled as of February 1986, leaving the last chapter unpublished and the story unfinished. According to notes at Byrne's website, the conclusion of the story would see a dying Galactus releasing his power causing a new Big Bang and transforming his herald Nova into the Galactus for the new universe.
During the Fantastic Four's fight with Abraxas, they were briefly allied with an alternate version of Nova. It was revealed at the conclusion that she was actually allied with Abraxas after her Galactus destroyed Earth even after accepting her as his herald. Nova transferred her anger for her failure to the Fantastic Four of the Earth-616 universe in the absence of her own. Abraxas subsequently drew in an army of Novas who had experienced similar traumas to keep the Fantastic Four occupied while he acquired the Ultimate Nullifier, the resulting army of Novas requiring the Fantastic Four to summon the assistance of an army of alternate Avengers just to keep the Novas occupied.
In other media
- Nova appeared in the Fantastic Four episode "When Calls Galactus", voiced by Leeza Miller McGee. She gets her powers when she is accidentally doused in the chemicals that gave the android Human Torch his powers. She is transformed into her herald form when joining Galactus, after giving him enough power to survive the effects of the poisoned planet he'd consumed earlier without the need to devour Earth.
- Nova appears in the Silver Surfer TV series, voiced by Tara Rosling. In this version, she is a mutant with clairvoyant powers. She is given her herald powers by Galactus when he chooses her as his herald in place of the Silver Surfer. She also mentions that her name is Frankie Raye.
- Frankie Raye appears in the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "Zoned Out", voiced by Tabitha St. Germain. As Johnny's date he takes her to the Baxter Building and Reed Richards' lab. He claims that the lab is his own, when he lies to impress her by claiming to be a scientist himself. Frankie inadvertently activates Reed's Negative Zone gauntlet mistaking it for a toy, drawing herself into the Zone.
- Frankie Raye appears in the feature film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer portrayed by Beau Garrett. In this version, she is a US Army Captain and Johnny's love interest.
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A few months back, Toys "R" Us hosted a poll to choose who would be in their exclusive four-pack of Marvel Minimates spotlighting Galactus and his Heralds. And we are now pleased to reveal the lineup! Nova, Morg, Terrax and Galactus himself will be in the 4-pack, and each will be tricked out to the max. Nova will have a flaming flight base that connects to her fiery hair.
- Nova (Frankie Raye) at the Marvel Universe wiki
- Nova (Frankie Raye) at the Comic Book DB
- Frankie Raye at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Frankie Raye at the Marvel Database
- Stewart, Terence (December 29, 2012). "A girl named Frankie Raye". The Mighty World of Bronze Age Marvel. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015.