Richard Rider was chosen at random by the alien Rhomann Dey, last surviving Nova Centurion of the planet Xandar's elite Nova Corps, to inherit his power and succeed him in the rank of Nova Prime following the destruction of his world by the intergalactic pirate Zorr. Having been mortally wounded in the battle that tore Xandar apart, Dey succeeded in tracking Zorr to Earth, but he was unable to exact vengeance due to the extent of his injuries. At death's door, Dey had little choice but to transfer his power to an unsuspecting human on the planet below, praying that whomever he found would take up his cause. In becoming a reluctant member of the Nova Corps (Xandar's intergalactic police force), Richard Rider gained enhanced strength, flight, injury resistance, and a uniform with life support. The character was originally created by Marv Wolfman and John Buscema in Nova #1, 1976, however the series lasted only 25 issues. Big John's brother, Sal Buscema, provided the bulk of the terrific interior art on the series after John pencilled the first issue.
Nova has been revived several times over the years and the character is currently a major player in Marvels Annihilation crossover event.