“I think the world’s gone PSYCHO and I want OFF.” – Richard Rider
One of the heroes of Annihilation and one of the biggest defenders of the Marvel Cosmic Universe, many fans are hoping Richard Rider will appear in one of the future phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If Rider does appear, many people are speculating who may/may not become the Human Rocket, but this writer hopes it will either be Chris Pine or Scott Porter, due to his comic book knowledge background, as well as the fact the actor has mentioned possibly wanting the role. His supposed replacement (Sam Alexander) however, has appeared on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, as well as his upcoming series during Marvel NOW! Originally, Rider was cocky and humorous, similar to Peter Parker, however, after Annihilation, his personality underwent a drastic change. Richard Rider was born in Hempstead, New York and as a teenager, he was chosen at random by Rhomann Dey who was the last surviving Centurion of planet Xander’s elite Nova Corps. Rider inherits his power and succeeds him in the rank of Nova Prime following the destruction of his world by Zorr.
Dey succeeded in tracking Zorr to Earth, but was unable to exact vengeance due to the extent of his injuries. Dey transferred his powers to Rider, which granted him great strength, invulnerability, flight and a uniform with a sealed life support system, but was given little instruction on how to use his new powers. After a brief career as Nova, Rider was called into space to serve in protection of the recently constructed Xandar until requesting to return home to Earth in order to lead a normal life of a high school student. Rider was told he must relinquish his powers and did so willingly, living a normal life while wishing he still had powers until Xandar was yet again destroyed and he was kidnapped by Night Thrasher, who learned Rider may have his powers reactivated if he suffered enough of an adrenaline rush. In order to accomplish this, Night Thrasher dropped him from the top of a building and Rider’s powers reemerged and he joined the New Warriors as the most experienced member of the team and trained Speedball.
Rider himself, also developed his powers further after meeting his alternate reality self. While on the New Warriors, Rider began a romantic relationship with Namorita and when Nita underwent a transformation, Rider accepted her for who she was. Later, Rider began a separate relationship with Laura Dunham but the two eventually drifted apart, while his relationship with Namorita also drifted when he was unable to provide support for her while having his own personal problems. During Annihilation, most of the Nova Corps, along with Xander was destroyed by the Annihilation Wave so Rider received the Worldmind, which gave him increased power. Later, Rider and Quasar fought their way through the Annihilation Wave in order to face Annihilus on his command ship, where Quasar was killed and Rider was forced to Flee. Eventually, Rider and the Worldmind succeeded in forcing a retreat of the Annihilation Wave from the sector and secured the planet’s complete evacuation, remaining joined in order to fight the Wave in the coming days.
Just over two-hundred days after Annihilation Day, Rider formed the United Front to oppose the Wave, which included Drax, Gamora, Ronan and Starlord, while his space forces included Firelord, Reh Shift and Stardust. Rider and his forces held the Wave best they could while other allies, like Super-Skrull and Phyla-Vell joined the United Front, also being made up of hundreds of species fighting to stop the Wave. After months of fighting, Rider finally confronted Annihilus and the two began a fierce battle with Annihilus, who used the Quantum Bands while Phyla-Vell forced her way into the battle and attacked Annihilus in an attempt to obtain the Bands from him. The Bands were finally retrieved from Phyla-Vell and Rider forced his hand down Annihilus’ throat, tearing out his insides and defeating him which forced the Wave to retreat. During Civil War, Rider went to maintain duties of the Nova Corps alone, but was overwhelmed and eventually crashed on Earth in the wake of the Initiative. When he went to his parents’, Rider learned of the Stamford incident when S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives along with Iron Man who asks him to register so Rider asks him for twenty-four hours to make a decision.
Rider then meets Justice who also asks him to join, but later, while Rider slept, Worldmind took over his body and when he wakes up the next morning, he’s attacked by Diamondhead who had been waiting for him to return. Rider subdues him but when he turns Diamondhead into the police, he’s confronted by the Thunderbolts who begin attacking him until Iron Man stops the battle and the two debate their different ideologies on common purposes and abuse of powers. Penance also reveals himself to be Robbie Baldwin in an attempt to register, but Rider refused and stated the world has gone insane so he says his goodbyes and returns to his Nova Corps duties. As he was leaving Earth, Rider receives distress calls all over Kree space with a summons to Hala and upon approaching the planet, Rider encounters a contingent of Phalanx-possessed Kree Sentries that attack without provocation. The Worldmind reports the Sentries were carrying viral programming that was nearly succeeding in invading its own systems so Rider retreats and attempts to open a star-gate, only to impact full-speed against an energy barrier the Phalanx were using to seal off Kree space from the rest of the universe, which mortally wounds himself in the process.
Rider is then flung to a planet on the far edge of Kree territory and his charred body comes to rest in a crater near the survivors of a downed Kree vessel. The Worldmind then quickly learns to protect Rider’s remains from incoming Phalanx attackers, choosing Ko-Rel as the next member of the Nova Corps while Rider’s body is transported to safety while his suit’s healing systems time to repair his body. Later, the Phalanx select Gamora to infect Rider with the Phalanx virus which accelerates his recovery and makes him a Select. As a slave of the Phalanx, Rider rekindles his affair with Gamora and Ko-Rel attacks him in an attempt to prevent the Worldmind from succumbing to the virus. Once Ko-Rel incapacitates Rider, she hesitates to kill him and is killed by Gamora in retaliation while the remainder of the Nova Force transfers back into Rider’s body, which enables him to contain the virus inside him and he breaks free from the Phalanx. Rider then utilizes the gravity of a nearby neutron star, creating a wormhole and escapes while Gamora and an infected Drax pursue him.
While Rider is hurled through space he finds himself on the other side of the universe where he discovers Knowhere and meets Cosmo and learns Abyss is roaming the universe. Rider is able to seal the prison Abyss was held in, allowing Knowhere to resume as normal and Cosmo provides Rider information regarding the homeworld of the Technarchy. Rider uses Knowhere’s teleportation technology and makes his way to the homeworld, but is still pursued by Gamora and Drax. Eventually, after arriving, Rider is able to enlist the help of Warlock and Tyro, who completely cures Rider, Drax and Gamora of the virus before going with them back to Hala to confront the Phalanx and helps battle Ultron. After the Phalanx Conquest, Rider helps Starlord start the Guardians of the Galaxy and then arrives on a planet that was about to be eaten by Galactus to help the people inhabiting it, evacuate and fighting Harrow. Rider captures Harrow and the ships used to evacuate the people of the planet are disabled by an electromagnetic disruption, and when Rider begs Galactus to wait a few hours so the people could escape, he’s ignored.
Silver Surfer then fights Rider, forcing him down to the planet, but he pleads with Radd for the time to save the people so the Herald uses his powers to shield the space ships. After a fight with Harrow, who is supposedly killed by a ship after the star-drive engines are engaged, Rider is knocked off balance, and after regaining composure, he finds himself trapped on the planet while Worldmind blames him for his carelessness. Rider eventually uses one of Galactus’ energy siphons to board his ship and discovers Harrow in his true form and learning Harrow is feeding off terror while Galactus feeds on a planet. Rider then reveals Harrow to Radd and Galactus who incinerates Harrow before teleporting Rider five light years away. During Secret Invasion¸ the Skrulls lure Rider to an isolated planet under the pretense of a Phalanx infestation and attempts to kills him, but the original Super Skrull saves Rider, also informing him that the Skrulls are on a religious crusade, attacking Earth.
Rider immediately rushes back to Earth and takes Kl’rt with him who hides Rider from others by pretending to turn on him. Rider then heads to Project Pegasus to help his brother Robbie and aids Darkhawk in defense of the facility, also learning Wendell Vaughn has been restored to life and reactivated Worldmind. Just as a Skrull warship appears to destroy the base, the ship is destroyed by what seems to be Nova Centurions and Rider is saluted as Nova Prime. The Worldmind reveals to Rider it had taken control of his body while he was asleep and recruited individuals to restore the Corps so Rider decides to use the Corps to clean up the fallout of the Skrull invasion, taking down villains such as the Serpent Society and Dragon Man. Rider is soon horrified when he discovers Worldmind recruited his brother into the Corps and also lobotomized Ego to use as a base to restart the Corps, so Rider is cut off from the Nova Force after protesting the Worldmind’s plan.
A powerless Rider decides to go to Pegasus to be examined and also requests they lure some Centurions to confirm if they’re being controlled by Worldmind. After discovering the truth, Rider also learns his body has been extensively damaged at a molecular level, becoming molecularly decayed and only had forty-eight hours to live. After escaping an A.I.M. experiment, Wendell appears and Rider receives the Quantum Bands to become the new Quasar and returns to Nu Xandar to retake the Nova Force, but is discovered by Ego. Rider then creates quantum copies to make an assault and once inside Nu Xandar, Rider discovers Worldmind had been suppressed by Ego. After learning about why Worldmind has become unstable, Rider sets off in search of his brother who left to find Xenith. During the Realm of Kings, Rider admits the galaxy does not need the Nova Corps, but decides to train the recruits as probationers, recruiting Zan Philo as well. Rider soon learns Darkhawk was wanted for murdering Lilandra Neramani, and while in pursuit of his old teammate, he learns of a Fraternity of Raptors that resemble Darkhawk and is pulled into the Fault by the Sphinx.
Rider and Darkhawk eventually return to their universe and unintentionally bring back Namorita. Later, Rider is called upon by Steve Rogers to join the Secret Avengers as a reserve member, but while on their first mission to Mars, Rider is possessed by the Serpent Crown so in order to save him, Worldmind transfers the Nova Force to Steve Rogers. After the Serpent Crown is destroyed, the Nova Force returns to Rider and as he’s recovering, Rider aids Spider-Man in stopping extraterrestrials from robbing a bank. Shortly after, Rider receives a distress call from the Guardians of the Galaxy which forces him to leave the Earth. Rider is alerted by Quasar, there is a tear leading to the Cancerverse which is filled with demonic versions of Earth’s heroes so he heads to Project Pegasus where Vaughn’s counterpart is in search of something and he’s followed back to the Fault where Adam Magus summons creatures of the Cancerverse. During the battle, the Revengers kidnap Namorita, so Rider, the Silver Surfer, Gladiator, Ronan, Beta Ray Bill and Quasar attack Sanctuary to free Nita, eventually succeeding but almost blown to pieces. Later, Nova travels to the Cancerverse in time to save the Guardians from the Undying Lord and his Revengers. When the Cancerverse is destroyed by Thanos, Nova and Starlord remain to prevent the Mad Titan from endangering any more realities and presumed dead, but Starlord returns while its unknown if Rider has survived as well.
Rider was the host of the entire Nova Force which was used to empower all members of the Nova Corps through the universe, becoming possessed with tremendously augmented strength and durability. Rider was also given near limitless quantities of energy which allows him to hold his own against other powerful beings like the Silver Surfer. The limit of Rider’s strength wasn’t known, but he had the ability to lift an excess of 100 tons with ease. Rider was considered one of the strongest beings in the universe and had the ability to run at speeds up to at least several hundred miles per hour and can move at speeds faster than light. With the help of the Worldmind, Rider can shoot energetic beams with the accuracy within a millimeter and his body is highly resistant to all forms of conventional physical injury, becoming practically invulnerable.
If Rider did sustain injury, he was able to channel the Nova Force to rapidly heal damaged body tissues almost instantaneously. Rider could also use the Nova Force to propel himself at speeds faster than light and could also channel the Force to expel energy in the form of extremely powerful concussive blasts, which he often used in combat. Aside from the Nova Force, Rider was also host of the Worldmind which contained all knowledge collected by the Xandrian people whom he accessed in order to communicate verbally and mentally. The Worldmind also helped by downloading profiles of opponents into Rider’s mind, detected nearby energy surges, accessed other computer systems, detected approaching super-humans with energy-based powers and could protect Rider from psionic manipulation.
Richard Rider was a formidable combatant who was trained by Chord and could also access Worldmind to instantly gaqin knowledge of Xandarian hand-to-hand combat techniques, which he uses in combination with energy powers. Rider’s uniform was specifically modified to help control the Nova Force, which helps contain and regulate the powers by siphoning some of the energies. The uniform also contained inhibitors that can manipulate various hormones in Rider’s brain for the purpose of moderating his moods as needed as well self-reparing capabilities, which allow itself to seal rips and tears on its own. Rider’s helmet also resembled and felt like cloth when not worn, but resembles a metallic look when it is worn. The helmet also contained radio circuitry which enabled Rider to pick up radio transmissions, monitor transmissions, telescopic sights, night vision, heat imaging sensors and a heads-up-display (HUD) for tracking energy signatures.