Real Name: Garthan Saal

Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (Xandarian) mutate

Occupation: Warrior, Centurion;
    formerly Centurion Prime;
    former Centurion sector coordinator

Group Membership: Nova Corps/Star Corps

Affiliations: Adora, Air-Walker, New Warriors (Firestar, Helix, Hindsight, Justice, K'renn, Powerpax/Powerhouse, Speedball (Rob Baldwin), Speedball (Darian Grobe), Timeslip, Turbo), Kanan, Nova (Richard Rider), Mexxa Rien

Enemies: Avengers (Captain America, Gilgamesh, Invisible Woman, Mister Fantastic, Thor), Fantastic Four (Human Torch, Ms. Marvel, Thing), Firelord, Friday, Nebula, Quasar (Wendell Vaughn), Sphinx, Starfox, Volx the Dire Wraith Queen;
    formerly the New Warriors (Firestar, Night Thrasher, Nova, Rage, Silhouette, Speedball)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Formerly Nova, Super-Nova, Supernova, Last Son of Xandar, Garthan "Orders are Orders" Saal

Base of Operations: Currently unknown (his mind and spirit was exist within the World-Mind);
    formerly a series of Nova-ships

First Appearance: Avengers I#301 (March, 1989)







Powers/Abilities: As Nova, Saal possessed superhuman strength (Class 25-50), durability, flight (supersonic), and enhanced stamina and agility. He could survive and fly in space and unleash force blasts. He could further analyze and even absorb certain energy types. As a Nova Centurion, he was trained in various forms of combat. He used a Xandarian Battle Cruiser, able to activate stargates, fly in space and within an atmosphere, analyze and detect various forms of energy, cloak itself from detection, and fire powerful energy blasts.

    As Super-Nova, he possessed the Nova-Force in its virtual entirety (save for that portion held by Richard Rider). He was 30' tall, possessed Class 100 strength (dwarfing Wonder Man, the Thing, etc.), and was virtually indestructible. He could generate near-limitless amounts of energy to fly at great speeds (within an atmosphere or in space), project devastating force blasts, create gravimetric pulses, and open space warps. These energies warped his mind, making him hostile, violent, and destructive.

Height: 5'10"; (Super-Nova) 30'
Weight: 200 lbs; (Super-Nova) 5400 lbs.
Eyes: Solid white; originally brown
Hair: Black ; originally brown




(Avengers I#301 (fb) - BTS / New Warriors I#41 (fb) - BTS ) - Garthan Saal -- believed to be the sole survivor of the planet Xandar, destroyed by the space pirate Nebula -- was given the sum total of the Nova Force (the accumulated powers of the entire deceased Nova Corps and the Xandarian Worldmind), transforming him into the giant and powerful Super-Nova. This was done with intent that he would safeguard the energies until such time as he could impart portions of it to those worthy of carrying on the noble tradition of Xandar, but the energies ravaged his mind, driving him mad.

(Avengers I#301 (fb) - BTS) - Super-Nova, seeking vengeance on Nebula, encountered Starfox and Firelord (also Xandarian) who were also tracking Nebula. When they could not tell him where Nebula was he attacked them savagely. Firelord was captured, though Starfox escaped, taking Firelord's staff with him. Nova flew his ship into orbit around Earth., believing that Nebula had taken refuge there as a member of the Avengers. (At the time, the Avengers believed that Nebula had recently infiltrated their ranks, though in reality that was the Terminatrix using her name)

(Avengers I#301) - Starfox arrived on Earth and told the Avengers (Captain America, Gilgamesh, Invisible Woman, Mister Fantastic, Thor) of Super-Nova. They flew Reed Richards' ICBM into space and swiftly located and docked on his immense ship. After fighting their way past the Brain Leeches, they located and freed Firelord, but were then confronted by Super-Nova. He demanded they turn over Nebula and then, refusing to listen to their explanations, released his Nova Force, blowing up his own ship as he departed and flew to Earth, vowing to leave it a smoldering cinder unless he received Nebula.

(Avengers I#302) - Super-Nova arrived in Chicago and began assaulting it to force humanity to deliver Nebula to him. His arrival was detected by Quasar who confronted him but was unable to stand up to his power. The West Coast Avengers contingent (Dr. Pym, Hawkeye, Tigra, Wonder Man) also flew to confront him, and Super-Nova smashed Wonder Man into the ground. Hawkeye tried to talk to Super-Nova to delay him, but Super-Nova quickly suspected treachery.
    Meanwhile, the East Coast Avengers -- having survived the explosion via Sue Richards' force field -- returned to Earth.

(Avengers I#303) - Super-Nova tired of Hawkeye's delay tactics and subsequent taunts, releasing a burst of energy to destroy him, but Quasar transported Hawkeye away in time to save him. As Super-Nova resumed his rampage, demanding Nebula, the Fantastic "Four" (Human Torch, Ms. Marvel, Thing) arrived and attacked him, though he smashed the Thing and Ms. Marvel together and tossed them to the ground. Quasar and the Human Torch combined their efforts against Super-Nova, and the Army's General Akord prepared a back-up attack, just as the East Coast Avengers and Firelord arrived. The heroes combined their forces in assault on Super-Nova, successfully knocking him to the ground, but this only angered him so that he prepared to again unleash his Super-Nova force. However, Reed Richards had -- with Quasar's aid -- retrieved Dr. Doom's time machine (or a replica thereof), and he succeeded in getting Super-Nova's attention to convince him to calm down. Reed formally introduced himself and explained how he could use the time machine to enter the timestream to pursue Nebula, as that's where she had been trapped when last they'd seen her (still believing the Kang Nebula/Terminatrix was the space pirate Nebula). As Reed Richards was known as an honorable man on Xandar, Super-Nova accepted his word and entered the timestream.






(New Warriors I#40 (fb) - BTS) - Trapped within the timestream, futilely searched for Nebula, growing even more insane over time.

(New Warriors I#40) - Within the timestream, Supernova (Saal) glimpsed Richard Rider regaining his power and retuning to the role of Nova. Infuriated that a coward (Rich had previously chosen to give up his powers and return to Earth rather than remain on Xandar) possessed a sliver of the Nova Corps power, Saal vowed to return to Earth and tear away Nova Power from Rich Rider so that only Supernova would remain to perpetuate the glory of Xandar.
    Shortly thereafter, Supernova appeared in the atmosphere above New York, demanding that Nova be brought to him. Nova confronted him and the two fought. Saal told Rider that he needed the full power to gain vengeance on Nebula as well as for Xandar to live. When Saal threatened Rider's life, Rider released a gravimetric pulse, actually hurting Saal. Realizing that Rider was more powerful than he thought, Saal grabbed him, telling him that he could relinquish the power willingly or have it torn from him, which would have the consequence of permanently scarring Earth's electromagnetic field and possibly of destroying all life on Earth. The exhausted Rider agreed to surrender his power, and Saal drained it all, leaving Rider dead.

(New Warriors I#42 (fb) - BTS) - The return of Garthan Saal to the universe, coupled with the now reawakened powers of Rich Rider, brought the Nova-Force to a synchronous plane of reality for the first time since the destruction of Xandar. The energy activated a failsafe in the World-Mind, which triggered the cloning baths aboard Xandar.

(New Warriors I#40) - Within the remnants of Xandar, a "nutrient cloning-bath" was activated, and the robotic Air-Walker (with the mind of the Xandarian Gabriel Lan) was affected by energies released on Xandar, screaming in pain as he sensed activity of Xandar's Worldmind and the Nova-Force. Air-Walker and Firelord departed to investigate the Nova-Power, which they tracked to Earth.

(New Warriors I#41 (fb) - BTS) - Driven even more mad by the increased power, Supernova exploded off Earth and ripped through a Shi'ar stargate to the fringes of the Shi'ar empire. Now seeking to destroy all that lived, Saal began destroying all starships that crossed his path.

(New Warriors I#41) - Firelord and Air-Walker led the New Warriors (Firestar, Night Thrasher, Rage, Silhouette, Speedball) to Rider, and Air-Walker channeled some of the Power Cosmic into him, replacing the energies of his life force removed by Saal. Firelord and Air-Walker then led the New Warriors, including the powerless Rider, to the Shi'ar Empire to confront Supernova.
    The Shi'ar sent a fleet, led by Officer Syth'kach, against Supernova, but he destroyed them all, accusing them of turning their backs on Xandar during her time of greatest need. The New Warriors arrived, and a spacesuit-wearing Firestar, unleashed her full powers against Saal, knocking him down to a nearby planetoid, where the Warriors, Firelord, and Air-Walker attacked him. With Supernova stunned, Firelord told him how Adora had planned for the potential destruction of Xandar  by choosing a human to house the spirit of Xandar (separate from its power). Saal grabbed Rider and teleported to Xandar, seeking to restore it to its former glory.
    Meanwhile, Adora's clone was incubated into adulthood and given her full memories. She stated that Richard Rider would have to die to restore Xandar.



(New Warriors I#42) - Above the remnants of Xandar, Supernova prepared to sacrifice both himself and Rider to restore the ravaged planet's super-computers. As Saal channeled their full power and spirit, Rich Rider was reborn as the ultimate expression of the might and soul of the planet. The New Warriors followed him via a stargate, but Rider, maddened by the power contained within him, lashed out at them. Adora transported the Warriors (and the now comatose Saal) to Xandar, saving their lives, while Firelord and Air-Walker attempted to force Nova/Rich Rider to relinquish the power he had gained, but he found himself unable to do so. The Shi'ar armada, led by the Imperial Guard, then arrived to battle them, but Rider begged them to stay back so he wouldn't hurt them. Adora, alongside the Warriors, succeeded in reaching Richards, and Adora instructed him to bathe the World-Mind in the Nova-Force to restore Xandar, even though giving up his powers might prove fatal. The World-Mind was successfully reactivated, and though Rider died once again, Adora was able to use the Worldmind to return his Nova powers and restore his life.





(Nova II#1 (fb) - BTS) - Saal recovered from his coma, and Adora made him Centurion sector coordinator.

(Nova II#1) - After Adora had Richard Rider tested -- in combat against Gladiator, as requested by the Shi'ar Majestrix Lilandra -- to see if he could use his powers sufficiently to retain his Nova power, she teleported both he and Gladiator aboard her ship. When Rider shouted out Adora's name in surprise, Saal commanded him to refer to her as Prime Commandant Adora. After Adora explained the testing, Saal told Rider that he had done well and should be quite proud of his performance.

(Nova II#14 - BTS) - Adora summoned Nova (Rich Rider) back to Xandar for an emergency, but he refused as he was busy on a mission with the New Warriors to protect Earth. She told him that as a member of the Xandarian Star-Corps he was subject to its strictures and that he would return to them one way or another.

(Nova II#15 - BTS) - Starcorps (formerly Nova Corps) members Muraitak (a Skrull) and Grot ambushed and captured Rider on Earth and brought to battle Kraa.

(Nova II#17 (fb) - BTS) - For his refusal to follow orders (and apparently as some sort of the conditions of her alliance with the Shi'ar), Adora stripped Rich Rider of his rank of Nova Centurion Prime, and she placed Garthan Saal as his replacement

(Nova II#16 - BTS / Nova II#17) - Under instruction from Adora, Garthan Saal began slowing draining Rider's power so that he would be able to more readily adapt to power loss and less likely to hurt himself.

(Nova II#17) - Garthan Saal tracked Rider to his apartment on Earth and attacked him, absorbing Rider's power as they fought. Rider tried to overload Saal by blasting him at full power, but Saal easily absorbed his assault. Rich quickly realized he could not win the fight, so when Saal next punched him, he allowed the force of the blow to take carry him through the roof and then took off. Unable to find Firestar to help him, Rider then charged a car with the Nova Force and hurled it into the air, using it as a decoy. While Saal pursued the car, Rider flew into space and accessed the stargate to Xandar (Rider assumed that Saal must have overpowered Adora to gain the might and permission to go after him). Realizing the deception, Saal followed Rider, catching up to him just as he crashed into Adora's palace using the last of his power stores. However, Adora then confirmed Saal's story, telling Rider that he was relieved of Star Corps rank and responsibility. She then placed Saal in charge of security for the Terran system.

(Nova II#18 (fb)) - Now known as Nova Omega, Saal escorted Rider to his chambers and instructed him to use the synthesizers to prepare normal attire so that he wouldn't be wearing the Nova uniform that he no longer deserved. When Saal taunted him as a renegade, coward, and deserter, the powerless Rider took a swing at him, but was swiftly forced to his knees and tossed across the room. Saal later accompanied Rider on a Xandarian battle cruiser as they headed back to Earth to drop him off. Saal positioned several Xandarian surveillance spheres near Mars to assist in his monitoring of his new territory. However, one of the Xandarian pilots, Reban, then pretended that the ship was malfunctioning and began sending it through a series of loops. The other pilot, Kanan, realized Reban to be an imposter and fired at him, at which point "Reban" revealed himself to be the Dire Wraith queen Volx. Volx then slew Kanan, damaging the ship in the process, while the helpless Rider sat in the back of the flight cabin and Saal flew behind them. The ship crashed on Earth, though Saal saved it from total destruction. Volx emerged, preparing to slay Rider, but Saal then arrived. Rider used and energy rifle and fired high at Volx, who dodged so that Saal was struck instead. Volx escaped, and Saal took Rider's weapon and shattered it, clarifying that Volx was not a Skrull as Rider had assumed, but something much worse. Saal grabbed a scanner from the ship's wreckage and began tracking Volx, leaving Rider stranded in the woods in the middle of nowhere.

(New Warriors I#60 (fb) - BTS) - Saal tracked down and confronted Volx, who overpowered and captured him, taking him to a Dire Wraith male/scientist base inside a mountain in Yosemite National Park. She placed him inside a pair of nucleic pumps that slowly siphoned his Nova-Force.

(New Warriors I#60) - Rider contacted the New Warriors (Firestar, Justice, Powerpax, Speedball, Turbo), and Turbo used her helmet to track Saal. Meanwhile, Saal awakened as the prisoner of Volx, who taunted him with the knowledge that his own Nova-Force would power the equipment that would destroy every living thing on Earth via changing the planet's magnetic polarity. As the New Warriors approached, Turbo noted that Saal's energy signature was changing, moving to a lower frequency. The New Warriors arrived and attacked Volx, but she defeated them. However, the restraints holding Saal were damaged in the battle and he broke free and attacked Volx anew. He knocked Volx into some sort of energy device, and Rider used one of the Wraith weapons to blast the control panel. Saal instructed the New Warriors to flee, and he accompanied them in escaping before the base blew up. Saal complimented Turbo on her heroism and then explained the true nature of Volx. Rider aimed the Wraith weapon he had taken at Saal, attempting to force him to return his powers, but Saal called his bluff, knowing that Rider felt that if he slew Saal that Adora would never give him his powers back.

(New Warriors I#69 (fb) - BTS) - Saal began to enjoy his assignment on Earth, frequenting the city of San Francisco and earning a position as a local hero.

(New Warriors I#69) - Aboard his cloaked Xandarian battle cruiser orbiting Earth, Saal received a message from fellow Xandarian Mexxa  Rien, telling him how the Shi'ar Borderer K'renn seemed to be putting more and more pressure on Adora with their secret projects. As the two old friends caught up, Saal detected energy fluctuations as a battle between the New Warriors (Firestar, Helix, Powerpax, Speedball (Darian Grobe), Timeslip, Turbo) and the Sphinx threatened to trigger a major environmental disaster. As he departed, Mexxa told him that the final data set she was transmitting was critical and that he must receive it personally, so he promised to keep his communicator open and to return to the ship to confirm receipt when she transmitted it.
    Saal joined the battle, catching Turbo as she was knocked into space, and then returning and attacking the Sphinx, but he, too, was simply blasted away by the Sphinx. Firestar blasted the Sphinx at full power, but he teleported away before the blast struck, and it set off a series of electrochemical explosions. Saal absorbed the toxic radiation that resulted, saving tens of thousands, at which point he received Mexxa's signal and returned to his ship, leaving the Warriors alone to fight the Sphinx.






(New Warriors I#73) - A distraught Mexxa Rien transmitted  an unscheduled, secret data packet to Saal, indicating they he had unwittingly betrayed Earth.
    Meanwhile, Volx tricked the New Warriors and Turbo into handing over the Turbo suit to her.

(New Warriors I#74) - Saal cut the feed from the surveillance spheres to Xandar, after which his ship detected Volx aboard the stolen Smartship Friday flying past him. Saal summoned the New Warriors (Firestar, Hindsight, Justice, Powerhouse, Rich Rider, Speedball, Timeslip, Turbo (sans costume)) aboard his ship, where they watched a report of Volx stealing a Neo-neutralizer, which she intended to power with the Turbo suit and remove the powers of every superhuman on Earth.

(New Warriors I#75) - Saal dispatched the Warriors in mini-pod ships to scan the Earth for Volx, while Rider and Hindsight stayed back on the ship with him. Powerhouse and Turbo found Volx's ship first and led Saal's ship to her, but Powerhouse used his pod to block Saal's firing path so that they wouldn't hurt Friday. Justice telekinetically pushed Powerhouse's pod out of the way, and Saal used the Nova ship to fire on Friday, blasting it from the sky so that it would crash on Earth. Saal and the others converged on Volx, but, powered by the Turbo suit, she blasted them all away. Namorita, Night Thrasher, and Rage -- informed of the battle by the Mad Thinker -- then arrived to join the fight, but even they were no match for her. Refusing to have the death of Earth on his conscience, Saal then tackled Volx, attempting to drain her power. He weakened her, but the power proved too much for him and he was knocked away by the backlash. Mortally wounded, Saal confessed to Rider about the conspiracy/infiltration/invasion plans on Xandar (with evidence aboard his ship), then passed on his powers to Rider before dying.







Comments: Created by Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio, Bob Hall, and Don Heck.

His name was revealed as Garthan Saal in New Warriors I#40.

The third death of the Xandarian race! Who's winning, them or the Korbinites.

Garthan Saal apparently returned in Nova IV#25 (July, 2009), but it turned out to be his Cancerverse version afaik.
--Markus Raymond

Thanks to Doug Smith and Sean McQuiad for pointing out the Nova II#1 appearance I had missed, which showed his true face.

Profile by Snood.

No KNOWN connections to:

images: (without ads)
Avengers I#301, p20 (giant Super-Nova before Avengers)
        last page (exploding out of own ship)
    #302, p7, panel 2 (Super-Nova face close up)
Nova II#1, p33, panel 4 (Garthan Saal, full body)
        p35, panel 5 (Saal, face)
    #17, p10 (Nova Omega)
    #18, p7, panel 5 (Nova Omega close up)
New Warriors I#73, p29, panel 3 (dying)

Other Appearances:
Avengers I#301 (March 1989) - by Mark Gruenwald (plot, editor), Ralph Macchio (script), Bob Hall (breakdowns), Don Heck (finishing)
Avengers I#302-303 (April-May 1989) - by Mark Gruenwald (plot, editor), Ralph Macchio (script), Rich Buckler (breakdowns), Tom Palmer (finishing)
New Warriors I#40-41 (October-November, 1993) - by Fabian Nicieza (writer), Darick Robertson (penciler), Larry Mahlsteadt (inker), Rob Tokar (editor)
New Warriors I#42 (December, 1993) - by Fabian Nicieza (writer), Darick Robertson (breakdowns), Brandon McKinney (finished pencils), Larry Mahlsteadt (inker), Rob Tokar (editor)
Nova II#1 (January, 1994) - by Fabian Nicieza (writer), Chris Marinan (penciler), Mark Stegbauer (inker), Rob Tokar (editor)
Nova II#17 (May, 1995) - by Evan Skolnick (writer), Phil Gosier (penciler), Mike Machlan (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Nova II#18 (June, 1995) - by Evan Skolnick (writer), Phil Gosier (penciler), Mike Machlan + Eklund, Bob Almond, & Adams (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
New Warriors I#60 (June, 1995) - by Evan Skolnick (writer), Patrick Zircher (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
New Warriors I#69 (March, 1996) - by Evan Skolnick (writer), Patrick Zircher (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
New Warriors I#73-75 (July-September, 1996) - by Evan Skolnick (writer), Patrick Zircher (penciler), Andrew Pepoy (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)

Last updated: 04/23/06

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