Learn about the Nova Corps before the GOTG film hits Theaters:
The Nova Corps is a fictional intergalactic military/police force appearing in Marvel Comics. The concept was created by Marv Wolfman. The first member appeared in Nova #1 in September 1976. The Corps’ first appeared in a cameo in Fantastic Four #204 and had their 1st full appearance in Fantastic Four #205 in 1979.
The Nova Corps was originally a space militia and exploration group for the planet Xandar. It consisted of 500 soldiers ranging in rank from Corpsman up to Centurion and its leader Centurion Nova Prime. The source of the Nova Corps power is called the Nova Force which is an unlimited energy generated by a living computer called the Xandarian Worldmind. The Nova Corps have two priorities: defend the Xandarian civilization and protect and safeguard the Xandarian Worldmind.
The Nova Corps and Xandar were destroyed three times: once by the alien Zorr,once by the space pirate Nebula,and once by the Annihilation Wave.
During the Skrull’s Secret Invasion of Earth, the Nova Corps were formed a fourth time to help Nova Prime Richard Rider defend the Project Pegasus building from the Skrulls.Their base of operations was inside Ego the Living Planet, rechristened “Nu-Xandar”.
During the Kree-Shi’ar War, the Xandarian Worldmind starts recruiting new members to the Nova Corps without telling Richard. Upon learning that Ego the Living Planet is one of the Nova Corps, Richard speaks against this to the Xandarian Worldmind. Richard is stripped of his rank and discharged from the Nova Corps. After most of the new recruits are slaughtered by the Shi’ar’s Imperial Guard, Ego is discharged from the Nova Corps and Richard is reinstated. Afterwards, Richard agrees to train the remaining recruits, which also includes his younger brother Robert.
During the war with the Cancerverse, Richard takes the Nova Force from the other recruits to use against Thanos. Richard apparently dies before returning it, leaving the Nova Corps powerless.
When the Phoenix Force returns to Earth in a lead-up to the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline, a new centurion named Sam Alexander arrives to help the Avengers stop it.
The Nova Force:
The Nova Force is the source of power for Nova and the entire Nova Corps, generated and controlled by the Living Computer of Xandar called the Xandarian Worldmind. The amount of Nova Force a Nova Corp member can access is determined by their rank. The higher the rank, the more power they can access. It has been observed, such as the case of Garthan Saal, that some exposures to the Nova Force can induce madness and mental instability with prolonged exposure to extremely high levels.
The Nova Force can grant the recipient (to varying degrees depending upon rank) various abilities including superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, and perception. It also grants flight at faster than light speed, a healing factor, and energy powers. These energy powers include the ability to create an electromagnetic beam or a gravimetric pulse. It can also be used to create Star Gates. The link to the Worldmind allows the wearer to access enemy profiles, analyze an attacker’s strengths and weaknesses, interface with computers, analyze energy signatures, create shields against mental attacks and receive transmissions from nearby sources.
As a corpsman, Richard Rider utilized some Nova costumes/battle suits designed by his New Warriors teammate Dwayne Taylor. These suits had various additional abilities. Other corpsman have been observed using traditional weapons, such as firearms.
Nova Corps ranks:
The Nova Corps are ranks from the highest rank to the lowest rank:
Nova Prime – The Nova Centurion designated as ‘Prime’ is the highest-ranking member of the Nova Corps. The Nova Prime is endowed with a vast portion of the Nova-Force, and capable of great feats of energy manipulation and projection.
Centurion – The Centurions are the top tier of the Nova Corps. It is from the Centurions that the Centurion Nova Prime is selected. The Centurions can lift approximately 20 tons.
Denarians – The Denarians are the middle tier of the Nova Corps. They have access to 75% of the Nova Force compared to the Centurions. The Denarians can lift approximately 15 tons.
Millennians – The Millennians have 50% of the Nova Force compared to the Centurians. They cannot fly, but they can pilot one-man sky flyers. Millennians can lift approximately 10 tons, have limited invulnerability, and have small photon blasters in the armbands of their uniform.
Corpsman – The Corpsman are the entry level of the Nova Corps. Any graduates from the Space Academy must apply to the Nova Corps upon graduation. They have access to 25% of the Nova Force compared to the Centurions. They can lift approximately 5 tons with limited invulnerability. Like the Millennians, the Corpsman have small photon blasters in the armbands of the their uniform.
Adora – Adora is the Queen of Xandar. Although she is killed in Nebula’s attack on Xandar, she is cloned by the Xandarian Worldmind. She held the title of Prime Commandant of the Corps, but her current whereabouts are unknown.
Air-Walker (Gabriel Lan) – Lan is Xandarian member of the military and exploratory force. He is elected by Galactus to serve as a herald, but dies in battle. He is later restored to life in an android body.
Jesse Alexander - Alexander is a former Nova Corpsman from Earth and father of Sam Alexander. He’s currently held prisoner on a still unknown planet.
Sam Alexander – Alexander is the newest member of the Nova Corps from Earth. He becomes a member of the Corps when his father, Jesse Alexander, leaves behind his Nova helmet.He is the main character in Nova vol. 5.
Josh Atwater – Atwater is a human member of the Nova Corps. He is killed in action during the War of Kings.
Rhomann Dey - Dey is the Nova Centurion from Xandar who recruited Richard Rider. He kills Zorr before dying himself.
Kyle Dyne – Dyne is a Nova Corpsman. His only appearance is in Nova vol. 4, #25 (July 2009).
Firelord (Pyreus Kril) – Kril was a Xandarian member of the military and exploratory force who is Selected by Galactus to serve as a herald. He is last seen hunting down those responsible for his planet’s destruction.
Fraktur – Fraktur is a Kakarantharian with the rank of Nova Millennian and the cousin of Fin Fang Foom.
David Green – Green’s only appearance is in Nova vol. 4, #25 (July 2009).
Grot – Grot is a Nova Centurion who is killed battling Kraa.
Ko-Rel – Ko-Rel is a Nova Corpsman drafted during the “Conquest” attack on the Kree. She is killed after a brief, but heroic stint as a Corpsman. Her essence is used as a template for the Corps’ interface with the Xandarian Worldmind].
Lucas Maats – Maats is a human who joins the Nova Corps under Nu-Xandar (a unification of the Xandarian Worldmind and Ego the Living Planet). He is blasted apart by a laser during the War of Kings storyline.
Matu Makalani – Makalani is one of the humans drafted as a Corpsman in the Nova Corps by the Xandarian Worldmind. He is killed by a blast from a Shi’ar Destroyer.
Morrow – Morrow is a Mephitisoid Nova Centurion who is secretly recruited by the Xandarian Worldmind.
Lindy Nolan – Nolan is one of the humans drafted as a Corpsman in the Nova Corps by the Xandarian Worldmind.
Nova Omega (Garthan Saal) – Saal is a survivor of the second destruction of Xandar. He is driven insane by the full power of the Nova Corps.
Tre Owens – Nolan is one of the humans drafted as a Corpsman in the Nova Corps by the Xandarian Worldmind.
Zan Philo – Philo is an unidentified alien with the rank of Nova Centurion. His left arm is replaced with both a mechanical arm and an alien one.
Powerhouse (Rieg Davan) - Powerhouse was trained as a member of the Syfon Division of the Corps. After recovering from amnesia and being brainwashed by Condor on Earth, he returns to his planet Xandar as one of the Champions of Xandar. He is killed when Nebula destroys his world.
Pyo – Pyo is a Rigellian Nova Centurion. She is killed when the Annihilation Wave attacks Xandar.
Quasar (Wendell Vaughn) – Quasar is temporarily drafted during the war with the Cancerverse.
Qubit – Qubit is a synthorganic being, one of the Manufactured Harmonites. He is one of the members secretly recruited by the Xandarian Worldmind.
Irani Rael – Rael is a Rigellian Nova Centurion who is secretly recruited by the Xandarian Worldmind.
Richard Rider – Rider is the Nova Centurion Prime until he is apparently killed when Thanos brings Death to the Cancerverse.
Robert Rider – Rider is the brother of Richard Rider who is made a member by the Xandarian Worldmind after he helps to revive it.
Samaya – Samaya is a Nova Centurion from Centauri-IV. She is killed by the Annihilation Wave.
Freya Shane – Shane is a Nova Corpsman. Her only appearance is in Nova vol. 4, #25 (July 2009).
Malik Tarcel – Tarcel is a Shi’ar who is chosen to replace Richard Rider as Nova Prime when he is expelled from the Corps.
Tas’Wzta – Tas’Wzta is a D’Bari Nova Centurion. He is killed when Kraa’s ship explodes.
Zyziwc Tiel – Tiel is a Nova Corpsman. His only appearance is in Nova vol. 4, #25 (July 2009).
Torthar – Torthar is a Nova Centurion who is killed by Kraa.
Tanak Valt – Valt is the Xandarian who founds the Nova Corps and leads the Champions of Xandar. He and his wife Queen Adora are killed when Nebula destroys their world.
Suki Yumiko – Yumiko is one of the humans drafted as a Corpsman in the Nova Corps by the Xandarian Worldmind. She is tortured and killed by Xenith (Gladiator’s cousin).
NOTE: The Nova Corps has also been affiliated with a group known as the Champions of Xandar.