Frankie Raye was just 14 when her step-father, Professor Horton, brought her with him to an abandoned warehouse where he kept the chemicals that gave the original Human Torch android ( Jim Hammond) his powers. After hearing about a new Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Horton wanted to recreate a new android. While transporting the chemicals that allowed the Torch to become on fire, Frankie tripped and was doused in them. The chemicals caused her body to burst into flame, endowing her with the power to do so at will.
Frankie Raye was created by Roy Thomas, George Perez and Joe Sinnott; and first appeared in Fantastic Four #164 in November 1975.
Major Story Arcs
Professor Horton tried to protect Frankie and was able to hypnotically repress the memories of her accident and her powers. He later created an invisible suit to suppress her powers. He even went as far as to make her have a phobia for fire and flames.
She became an interpreter for the United Nations and she met Johnny Storm in a singles bar and later met up to go on a date. On their first date, Frankie learned that Johnny was the Human Torch when he had to save a man's life. Frankie was repressed of her memory by her step-father about the accident that gave her super-powers, until one day it came to light. Reed helped her learn the truth of her past. After this, she began to distance herself from Johnny, despite his devotion and seriousness towards their relationship.
The Fantastic Four offered to train her in the use of her powers and she even helped them on a few missions. She also developed a stronger relationship with Johnny. When Terrax, the herald of Galactus, came to Earth, Frankie learned of Galactus and she became curious. Doing some research, she discovered information about Norrin Radd and how he had become the Silver Surfer in order to save his planet.
When Galactus needed to consume the Earth to survive, Frankie volunteered to become his next herald to explore space and have adventures as long as he spared the Earth. Galactus accepted, endowing Frankie with the Power Cosmic, (although less than other heralds, as Galactus' power was diminished). With Galactus' touch, she gained the abilities needed to traverse space and successfully find the proper sustenance for her master. No longer Frankie Raye as she had once been known, she now came to be called Nova.
Herald of Galactus
As Galactus' herald Frankie was initially inexperienced. Through most experiences she looked on in wonder as that of a child's and was very curious. Nova understood Galactus' importance to the universe and was very faithful. She was willing to deliver any planet to Galactus, regardless of it's inhabitants. She had a great fondness for Galactus almost to the point of love. She often thought that he may love her as well. It did seem he truly did care for her.
When she was kidnapped by the Skrulls in their attempt to have Galactus work for them and destroy Kree worlds, Galactus could have easily destroyed the planet the Skrulls had held her captive. He did not, however, for he may have risked Nova's safety or even killed her. The Silver Surfer offered to help Galactus if he would free him from Earth's confinement and Galactus agreed. Silver Surfer was easily able to save her and return her to Galactus unharmed.
When the Elders of the Universe attempted to kill Galactus, Nova could not defend him on her own. With the direction of the Silver Surfer, she destroyed a star creating a black hole and helped to save Galactus. But coming through the black hole was the In-Betweener, who sent the ailing Galactus into the hole himself and into another universe. He escaped and battled the In-Betweener and they proved equal in strength. Nova's devotion to her master would not allow her to stand by and watch him lose, she then formed a plan to help him. With the help of the Surfer and the Elders, they saved Galactus and returned the In-Betweener to his own realm.
Nova had a resentment for the Silver Surfer for leaving and betraying her master, but that eventually faded when Galactus had the Surfer assist her on missions. He helped her to understand her powers and to learn from his experiences. Eventually, the Surfer pointed out to her the importance of life. From that point on, she began trying to find uninhabited worlds for her master to consume.
Later, Frankie and the Silver Surfer fell in love, causing her to leave Galactus to spend as much time as she could with the Surfer. Unfortunately, the two parted ways when the Titan Starfox forced Frankie to have feelings for another former herald, Firelord. These feelings were only temporary, but Galactus authoritatively forbid her from leaving to explain to the Surfer. She threatened to quit his service, but eventually stayed. This furthered her suspicions that he may have had feelings of love for her too. When she tried to reach the Surfer, he had urgent matters on Zenn-La and did not speak to her. There were further opportunities to discuss this with the Surfer, but he simply didn't want to talk about it. She then came to the conclusion that their love was just the Surfer rebounding from the loss of Mantis.
During the Infinity War, Nova was sent to make Doctor Strange aware that Galactus was coming to Earth to get him. Eternity was in a comatose state and Galactus required Strange to remove magical barriers that were put in place. After Strange was obtained, Nova traveled with them and the Silver Surfer across many dimensions in order to find the source of Eternity's problems, which turned out to be Adam Warlock's evil counterpart, the Magus.
After being taught the value of life from the Surfer, she became disillusioned with her duties. She was often mistreated by Galactus (much as he treated all of his previous heralds), which caused her much sadness. She felt she could no longer be an accomplice to genocide. The Surfer shared his experience with her once again. Telling her that, after centuries, he had found peace with himself for his actions and that she must find her own as well.
She began lying to Galactus, telling him there were no suitable planets for him nearby when there were plenty of populated planets. He used probes to uncover her deceit. He then encased her in energy and took her to a nearby populated planet to teach her a lesson. On the planet, he discovered a fearless, bloodthirsty executioner. He spared him and brought him to space. He released Frankie and told her to leave, never to bother him again. She was very upset with this decision. He then transformed the executioner into his new herald, Morg.
All the former heralds regrouped when Galactus' new herald, Morg, revealed his murderous ways. Nova had lost her memory somehow and was found by Firelord and the Silver Surfer on a seedy planet as a dancing girl. When Surfer faked his death, she snapped out of it. She then joined them to stop Morg. She was now a lost soul, having no purpose. The Surfer told her she could always join him in space which she happily agreed to. Eventually, Morg was defeated but not before he had managed to kill Frankie. The Surfer sent Frankie's body into a nearby sun, saddened by the thought of never seeing her again.
When the Silver Surfer returned to Earth he helped the Fantastic Four try to discover the cause of some strange scientific activity. They traveled into the Earth's crust through the tunnels under Monster Island. The activity seemed to draw them to a resurrected Nova. After tests back at the Four Freedoms Plaza, it was revealed this Nova was genetically identical to the original. She had no memory after Morg had killed her. She left to be with the Silver Surfer in space.
But she seemed to try to seduce the Surfer into giving up his life for riches or power. When Nova was kidnapped by some slave traders, the Surfer realized that he indeed had feelings for her and pledged himself to her. But this was all a deception, for it was really Mephisto in disguise, and he now possessed the Surfer's soul.
In the HERALDS miniseries, a strange explosion coming from space creates a chaotic situation when a S.W.O.R.D. facility is damaged, causing many of the space creatures and clones locked inside to be released in Las Vegas. One of these is a clone of Professor Horton. Meanwhile, a young waitress named Frances Hyatt suddenly has a strange feeling, leading her to murder a customer before running away to find out what is wrong with her. She is met by the Professor's clone who claims to be her father. Frances bursts into flames, causing a massive explosion.
She is found by a group of heroines who had helped Abigail Brand round up the S.W.O.R.D. clones ( Monica Rambeau, Hellcat, Emma Frost, Valkyrie & She-Hulk). They are baffled by Frances' resemblance to Frankie. The entity responsible for the damage seems to be Nova. After it tries to merge with the Human Torch, it goes after Frances again before finally kidnapping Valeria Richards. The 'Nova entity' seems to feel betrayed by everyone she ever loved.
Chasing after Nova, the heroines are able to locate Valeria in the heart of a star. With Reed's extensive files on Frankie, they learn this is the suit Professor Horton had created to suppress Frankie's abilities, a suit even Reed Richards was unable to remove. It detached itself and seeks a new host, this time the Invisible Woman, but as it does it speaks to Frances. It wants Frances to help save them (the entity is destined to become one with Frances, the Silver Surfer having chosen her previously). In doing so, Frances is taken over by the entity, becoming a new Nova.
Fire Control: Her original abilities enabled Nova to ignite herself on fire, create blasts and control flames. This also enabled her to fly. Powers similar to the Human Torch.
Flight: Like all heralds of Galactus, Frankie was endowed with the Power Cosmic which allowed her to fly through space and use this power to do almost anything she wished.
Blast Power: Nova is able to create incredible blasts of fire and heat capable of destroying stars.
Super Speed: Nova can travel at velocities faster than the speed of light. She also has remarkable agility and maneuverability.
Super Strength: Nova has incredible strength which enables her to lift up to 40 tons.
Super Sight: Nova is able to see in almost all spectra of radiation and light, although her senses are not as keen as the Silver Surfer.
Invulnerability: Nova can withstand extreme pressures and temperatures.
Stamina: It is not necessary for Nova to sleep, eat or breathe.
Enhanced Abilities: The Power Cosmic amplifies her original fire powers to a greater degree. She is capable of absorbing or dispersing heat and radiation in massive quantities.
Note: Unlike most Heralds of Galactus, Nova has no power item of her own such as the Silver Surfer's board, Firelord's staff or the Cosmic Axe of either Morg or Terrax.
Frankie gives Deadpool the Retcon Expungifier, and the mission to kill the Beyonder. As payment, Frankie promises Deadpool the Cosmic Cube.
In the "War of the Worlds" reality, Nova remained Galactus' herald until the mid-30th century. When Galactus came to consume Earth once again, the Silver Surfer, Firelord and Dargo stood in his way. They combined their might into a single attack meant for Galactus, but Nova sacrificed herself for her master. Her death humbled all those involved, and Galactus absorbed her back into himself.
After losing his current herald to a pair of former heralds, Galactus vowed to never have another.
Nova preceded Galactus to the planet Ciegrim-7 for his feeding, only to find Hercules there to defend it. Once she realized who she was fighting, she decided to talk to him instead which then led to a romantic affair with the Olympian.
In a reality 100 million years from now, Galactus battles Ecce the Watcher for thousands of years until the universe dies. After which, only Galactus and Nova (Frankie Raye) remain. Galactus releases his energies, creating a new Big Bang; and Nova becomes the Galactus of the newly-formed universe.
When a dead Galactus fell from the sky into New York City, along with it was Frankie Raye. Both were from alternate realities. Frankie claimed that she must do what her master would do to protect reality from a great threat. She also still had strong feelings for Johnny, who was now dating Namorita, much to Nova's resentment.
They all soon learned that the threat was a being of great power known as Abraxas, who was in search of the Ultimate Nullifier. Since Johnny once knew the location of the Nullifier, he was sent to retrieve it before Abraxas could first. Reed suggested that Nova join him.
After the remaining members of the Fantastic Four were able to help Johnny find the location of the Nullifier, Nova attacked Johnny and took it and gave it to her true master, for she was a herald of Abraxas. It is then revealed that in this Nova's reality, she became the herald of Galactus, but Galactus destroyed the Earth and her love Johnny anyway. This left her bitter and hateful.
Nova, along with an army of other Novas, then attacked along with Abraxas. Abraxas and Nova were eventually defeated when the Ultimate Nullifier was used against them destroying all of reality so that the multiverse could reset itself.
Fantastic Four: The Animated Series (1994)
Frankie Raye appears in the Fantastic Four: The Animated Series episode "When Calls Galactus," voiced by Leeza Miller McGee. She is introduced as a Human Torch fangirl who accidentally catches fire after touching him. However, she is not injured by the flames, which Mr. Fantastic discovers is due to a childhood accident where Frankie was exposed to the same chemicals used to create the Golden Age Human Torch while playing around in her stepfather's (implied to be Phineas Horton) lab. She soon discovers that she has abilities similar to Johnny's, and the two become a romantic couple. However, at the end of the episode, Frankie leaves Earth to become Nova, Galactus' newest herald after Terrax's betrayal, which leaves Johnny heartbroken.
Silver Surfer: The Animated Series (1998)
Frankie Raye appeared as a recurring character in Silver Surfer, voiced by Tara Rosling. In a departure from the comics, she is first introduced in last installment of the 3-part series premier as an Earth teenager with latent mental abilities that allow her to find whatever it is she's looking for (which she simply chalks up to luck), rather thank flame powers. She encounters the Silver Surfer when he arrives on Earth, and is healed by his Power Cosmic after being injured. The exposure to this energy awakens her genetic potential, which Galactus decides to exploit by transforming her into his newest herald: Nova. She later returns and teams up with the Silver Surfer to save Galactus' life later in the season.
Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes (2006)
Frankie Raye appeared in the Fantastic Four: Word's Greatest Heroes episode "Zoned Out," voiced by Tabitha St. Germain. Johnny is giving a tour of reed's lab when both Johnny and Frankie get sucked into the Negative Zone. They eventually escape when Reed creates another portal back to his lab. Frankie did not display any powers that she has in the comics.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
In the 2007 live action film, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Frankie Raye was a Captain in the military. She had no super powers. She was portrayed by Beau Garrett.
- Frankie appears in several cards in the mobile card game Marvel: War of Heroes. Her cards are: [Aflame] Frankie Raye.
- Frankie Raye was featured as Nova in ToyBiz's Silver Surfer action figure line.
- Franke Raye was featured in Diamond Select's Minimates line as part of the Toys "R" Us exclusive Heralds of Galactus box set.
- Frankie Raye was featured as Nova in the HeroClix figure game.
- Bowen Designs produced a bust of Frankie Raye as Nova.
- Frankie Raye was featured as Nova in Hasbro's Marvel Legends line as part of the HasLab exclusive Galactus set.