What happens when Gamora takes possession of a black Nova Corps helmet (or vice versa) to lead Nebula and her fellow Guardians of the Galaxy on a raid to infiltrate the Believers? Find out after the jump in my review of “Black Helmet Woman.”
Humor and Mechtanks
We open in media res as the Guardians have tracked the sarcophagus to one of Yondu’s hideouts, a desert planet. Rocket grumbles about the desert and why it’s never a nice place that they end up in. Star-Lord has some great lines about things they can’t say any more. I complain about the humor sometimes in this show, but sometimes it is funny.
The sarcophagus is there all right, but just as they find it, Nebula shows up. She’s wearing battle armor that looks like a mechtank and wants the sarcophagus as it belongs to her father (or so she says). The battle armor is to make up for her cybernetics which were removed… at some point.
While under attack by the mechtank, Quill and Gamora hide behind the sarcophagus. They peek inside, and it’s mostly empty, except for some junk and an old school black Nova helmet. They think it might be a weapon, but is it, and how would they know? Believe it or not, this might be their first encounter with such a thing.
This animated series, if it’s even in continuity, is a direct sequel to the first film, and might not even have connection to the second or the rest of the Marvel Animated Universe. The Nova Corps were more cops than superheroes or wannabe Green Lanterns in the movie, so the helmet may be a new piece of the puzzle for them.
Thinking the helmet, which is black rather than the standard gold, is a weapon, Gamora puts it on and screams. Seemingly possessed by it, she sees flashbacks of a gathering of other Novas in black. The black Novas were an unscrupulous bunch who had full access to the Nova Force, their power source, whereas the gold Novas only had partial access.
This, it should be noted, is all new to me. I’m really old school and remember reading about Peter Parker rip-off Richard Ryder who would become Green Lantern rip-off Nova for some mildly entertaining stories, which were, as I recall, drawn by Carmine Infantino, waaay back in the 1970s. Any exposure to more recent developments in the Nova saga come from the Guardians movie, the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, and Wikipedia. I’m no expert.
All that said, I have to say, there are some very trippy and cool effects when Gamora puts in the helmet. Early in in this series, the animation was superior in that way, glad to see a return of that. Flying and shooting energy from her hands, Gamora defeats Nebula and her mechtank easily. It is hard to hold her rage in check however.
Amazingly, Rocket proves to be the voice of reason here. I like it. Usually he’s played for laughs, but here he’s thinking and speaking his mind. He knows that’s not Gamora anymore. Even without the helmet on, Gamora is still in its power. Nebula lets on that inside the sarcophagus was also a cocoon, and that’s what’s really valuable, and that the Believers took it.
Props and Cost
A first strike on the Believers leads to first blood for Gamora. The helmet makes her attack Groot and sever one of his arms. Her teammates take it in stride and know she didn’t mean it. The sense of family of the Guardians is back, and breaking into the Believers’ resort feels like the Guardians should, it’s a heist, and not done for laughs. Props gotta go to writer David McDermott on this one, he gets it.
As the Guardians prepare a second strike on the Believers’ flagship, they get a call from Nova Prime, looking nothing like Glenn Close. They know the Guardians have a black Nova helmet and they’d better give it back. It’s extremely dangerous, and sucks all the life force from the wearer. Just then, the Believers find our heroes.
As I’ve said before, Mantis is one of my favorite Avengers, and her role here as villain makes me even sadder than her almost useless and laughable role in the second movie. Am I the only one who loves Mantis and wants to see her presented in a better light? I guess I should be happy, it could be worse, we live in a world where Captain America leads Hydra and rules the planet like a fascist.
Mantis, as a leader of the Believers, gives the order to crush the Milano with a gravitational beam. Taking the black helmet, Gamora attacks the Believers and protects the cocoon, but after a fight with Nebula over the helmet, both are seemingly absorbed into the cocoon. Yeah, as weird as it sounds.
The Believers survive, as their ship sinks into the ocean of the world they were orbiting, but not before Quill, Drax, and Rocket make off with the cocoon and the helmet. Later they give Nova Prime, with her Mister Softee hair, the helmet back, but hold back on the cocoon and the wristbands.
Gamora and Nebula awaken in a shiny world with the High Evolutionary‘s ship overhead. If they’re in the sarcophagus, could they be inside the soul gem of Adam Warlock? As I recall, he, as well as Gamora, spent quite a bit of time there in the world within. The wristbands, I’m guessing are either the Quantum Bands or the Nega-Bands and might allow access to where Gamora is.
Quite a cliffhanger, and quite an episode. This is definitely one of the better ones this season, with great animation and on target characterization. Let’s have more of this, shall we? What did you folks think?