Garthan Saal (Super Nova)

Garthan SaalThe release date for Guardians of the Galaxy is approaching, and we got some new info about the characters appearing. Looks like the one we already saw in a trailer is a guy pretty famous in the comics: when Rhomann Dey looks at the criminal records of the Guardians, another Nova Corpsman portrayed by Peter Serafinowicz is harshly commenting about them being “quite a bunch of a**holes”. Turns out this Nova is none other than Garthan Saal, another historical member of the Nova Corps and a prominent enemy of the New Warriors. It’s likely that in the movie Sall will appear in that single sequence only, or maybe in some general meeting of the Novas, but he’ll be quite a secondary character in the film; in the comics, on the other hand, he’s a pretty relevant presence in the universe. Let’s see together.

Born on remote planet Xandar, Garthan Saal grew up admiring the Nova Corps, a Xandarian police force committed with preserving order in the Xandarian space. Once of age, Garthan entered the Corps, and soon became a Nova himself, rising to the rank of Nova Centurion. While Saal was on a mission outside the planet, unfortunately, space pirate Nebula attacked Xandar and destroyed it, murdering most of the Nova Corps. The Xandarian Worldmind, in order to preserve itself and what the Novas stood for, believing that Saal was the only Nova survivor, imbued him with the accumulated powers of all the deceased corpsmen (actually, there was yet another Nova, stationed on Earth: teenager Richard Rider, whose power obviously didn’t go to Saal). As a result, Saal grew to gigantic proportions, imbued with a nearly limitless cosmic power: his purpose was, in the Worldmind’s intention, to be merely the guardian of the Nova Force garthansaalcomics1until he found someone worthy to share the power with, to rebuild the Nova Corps anew. Nicknamed Super Nova, Saal was ready to take up this new task… at least, he believed to be so: the grief for the loss of his homeplanet, his family and all his friends, summed to the incredible amount of power he suddenly had to bear, drove him mad. As soon as he learnt who was the responsible of Xandar’s destruction, the Super Nova started a vengeful hunt through all the galaxy, seeking Nebula and her ship. He tracked Nebula down to Earth (actually, she was Ravonna Renslayer under disguise), where he met also Firelord and Starfox, who were hunting the space pirate as well. Saal interrogated them, but they were not able to tell him the location of Nebula: this was enough for him to believe them to be her accomplishes. He effortlessly defeated the two powerful space warriors, and captured Firelord to interrogate him. Meanwhile, Starfox had fled to Earth to warn his allies, the Avengers.

The Avengers (consisting of Mr. FantasticThor, the Invisible WomanGilgamesh and Captain America) were easily annihilated with their spaceship (only the Invisible Woman’s powers saved them), and Saal arrived on Earth, threatening to destroy the planet if they didn’t surrender Nebula to him, still convinced she was hiding there. Quasar tried to face him, but couldn’t match his powers; a second team of Avengers (Hank PymTigraWonder Man and Hawkeye) tried to battle the giant, but failed. Even the intervention of the Fantastic Four proved to be vain. Finally, Mr. Fantastic convinced Saal that garthansaalcomics2Nebula had been lost in the time stream, and tricked him to follow her in Dr. Doom‘s time machine. Trapped between eras, Saal’s madness worsened. When Richard Rider, the “coward” who failed to protect Xandar, came back to his active role as a Centurion (stealing a fraction of a power that Saal believed to be rightfully his), the Super Nova broke free from the time stream, and attacked Earth once again, demanding to face Rider. The young hero bravely accepted the challenge, but he proved to be no match for Saal: understanding that if the Super Nova ripped the Nova Force from him it would have put to risk the entire life on Earth because of the consequences on the magnetic field, Rider sacrificed himself and gave up his life and powers to Saal. Even madder than before, Super Nova now wanted to annihilate all the races and peoples that had abandoned Xandar in their moment of need, blasting any spaceship he met on his destructive space-trip. He was followed by the New Warriors (included a resurrected but powerless Rider, Firelord and Air-Walker) and confronted yet again. During the fight, the former queen of Xandar Adora intervened, and convinced Saal to give up his energy to restore Xandar to his former glory. The Super Nova obeyed his queen, but was left comatose from the process. Still, he would have woken up soon after: nothing could stop him for long…

Garthan Saal is a heroic, noble and brave man, ready to sacrifice everything for the higher good and for his planet. Unfortunately, he’s completely mad. Folly brought Saal to want the total annihilation of all the ones he believes to have abandoned Xandar, from the “rogue” Nova Richard Rider to all the races and species that didn’t intervene to stop Nebula from annihilating the planet and the Corps. As a simple Nova, Saal possessed superhuman strength, speed, durability and stamina, the ability to survive in open space and to propel himself like a human rocket, and to absorb and manipulate great amounts of energy; as the Super Nova, however, all his abilities reach a never-before-seen level, which amounts to the sum of all the powers of every single Nova Corp deceased before Saal. An unstoppable and invincible giant, Garthan Saal is a deranged juggernaut eager to take his vengeance on the entire galaxy.


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