Believing that Garthan Saal was the last surviving Xandarian Centurion after the destruction of Xandar by the space pirate Nebula, the Xandarian Worldmind gave Saal the sum total of the Nova-Force (The accumulated power of the entire deceased Nova Corps), turning him into a giant and supremely powerful Supernova. The intent was that he would guard the energies until such a time as worthy beings could be found to impart portions of the Nova-Force to, in this way rebuilding the Corps. However the sheer power he was forced to shoulder drove Saal mad. Vowing revenge upon Nebula he began a journey to the last known planet which had harbored this fugitive, Earth.
Discovering Firelord and Starfox also seeking Nebula, he attacked them savagely when they could not tell him Nebula’s current whereabouts. Capturing Firelord, Starfox escaped with Firelord’s staff to Earth to warn the Avengers.
The team consisting of: Captain America, Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Thor, and Gilgamesh intercepted the starship with Reed Richard’s retrofitted ICBM. Making their way onboard, the Avengers found themselves attacked by Brain-leeches, but were able to fight their way to free Firelord, but Supernova released a gravimetric pulse which annihilated his ship without any regard for the Avengers.
Flying to Earth he set down in Chicago, IL. Where he began to make his demands that the people of earth deliver Nebula to him or he would destroy the planet. Quasar detected his arrival and confronted him, but was unable to match his power. The Avengers West Coast consisting of Hank Pym, Tigra, Hawkeye, and Wonder Man responded to the reports and flew to Chicago in a Quinjet, attacking Supernova but were easily defeated even as Avengers East had survived the destruction of Supernova’s ship (thanks to Invisible Woman) and were slowing making re-entry into the atmosphere. Hawkeye attempted to distract Supernova, but the behemoth wasn’t fooled and attempted to disintegrate the archer. Quasar, however saved him at the last second.
The Fantastic Four arrives and Thing and She-Thing briefly bring the fight to Supernova, but they are quickly defeated by him. Human Torch and Firelord attempt to combined their efforts against Supernova and end up safely venting Supernova’s flame (which would have been akin to a nuclear strike) safely into space. Mr. Fantastic asks Quasar to fly him to Four Freedoms Plaza in New York to acquire the Time Machine he took from Doctor Doom. They return just as Supernova is about destroy the planet, however Richards is able to calm Supernova down and offer him the chance to find Nebula who had apparently been lost in the time-stream. Supernova accepts on the basis that even on Xandar, Reed Richards was known as an honorable man.
Trapped in the time-stream Saal’s condition worsens. He watches as Nova regains his powers to return to the role of Nova. Enraged that Rider (who Saal sees as a coward) has a sliver of “his” power, Saal breaks free from the time-stream with the intent to rip the Nova-Force from Rider.
Supernova materialized over New York and demanded that Nova be brought to him (much as he had done with Nebula), Nova responded and battled Supernova briefly after realizing that Supernova wished to strip him of powers, which would have the side-effect of killing Rider. Surprising Supernova as to how much power he had, Rider released a gravimetric pulse which actually hurt Supernova, but left Nova stunned and exhausted. Supernova took the time to make it clear that he could simply rip the Nova-Force from Rider, but that would permanently scar Earth’s Electromagnetic field, possibly killing all life on the planet. It was at this moment that Rich Rider willingly gave up his life.
Drunk on the full power of the Nova-Force, Supernova exploded off Earth and destroyed a Shi'ar Star-gate, now seeking to end all life, Supernova began destroying any ship that crossed his path. Infuriated with the other races for turning their backs upon Xandar during its greatest time of need, Supernova declared war upon everyone else, to this end he destroyed an entire Shi’ar armada that had moved in defense of their home world. Confronted by the New Warriors (including a resurrected, but powerless Richard Rider), Air-Walker, and Firelord; who explained to Supernova that Adora, leader of the Xandarians, had planned for the potential destruction of Xandar, with Saal housing the power of Xandar, but Rider housing it’s spirit. In a fit of rage upon understanding the truth of the situation, Supernova grabbed Rider and teleported to the ruins of Xandar.
Above the ruins of Xandar, Saal prepared to sacrifice both himself and Rider for the greater good of Xandar. As Saal channeled the full power and spirit of the Nova-Force and Xandarian people Richard Rider was reborn with the full power and of the Nova-Force. Maddened by the power in much the same way Saal was, Rider was still reachable by the likes of Adora and his fellow New Warriors. He gave up the powers to return the power to Xandar, re-empowered Adora who returned a sliver of the power to Rider, which also restored his life. Saal was left comatose from the ordeal.
Saal soon emerged from his coma, his sanity restored. He was made Centurion sector coordinator by Adora. After Rider had been tested by Gladiator on Adora’s behalf, Saal explained that Rider has acquitted himself well and should be quite proud of his performance. When an emergency arose on Xandar, Rider was summoned, but refused as he had to assist the New Warriors and protect the Earth. Saal was named Rider’s replacement by Adora, and Rider was stripped of his title of Nova Centurion. Saal mocked Rider in his shame, calling him a coward and a deserter.
Now known as Nova Omega, Saal accompanied a powerless Rider back to earth to drop him off and formally replace him. Betrayed when the pilot of the starship turned out to be the Dire Wraith Queen Volx, Saal was forced to crash-land their ship on Earth, Volx escaped.
Saal tracked down Volx, but was overpowered and captured by her. She placed him within a pair of nucleonic pumps to siphon the Nova-Force from him. Freed by the New Warriors he managed to drive off Volx. Rider leveled a Wraith weapon at Saal demanding his powers back, but Saal called his bluff.
Later Saal joined the New Warriors in battle against the Sphinx and watched as Firestar accidentally set off a series of electrochemical explosions, Saal absorbed the toxic radiation saving tens of thousands. He however received an important communiqué from his starship and left the Warriors to battle the Sphinx alone.
The communiqué from a fellow Nova Corps member told him that they had unwittingly betrayed Earth. Shortly afterwards Saal summoned the New Warriors to his ship, apparently Volx had stolen Turbo’s Turbosuit in an attempt to rob every superhuman on Earth their powers.
In the final confrontation, after Volx had defeated most of the New Warriors Saal tackled the Dire Wraith in an attempt to drain her powers, but it proved to be too much for him, the backlash sent him flying and mortally wounded him. Saal confessed all about the conspiracy against Earth to Richard Rider, noting the evidence was aboard his starship. He then passed his powers to Rider just before he died.
War of Kings
During the cosmic event War of Kings, a black nova centurion appears before Nova-Prime Malik Tarcel This Nova claims to be Garthan Saal, or Supernova, and proceeds to rescue Tarcel from the Shi'ar holding cell. Whether this was simply the cancer-verse Supernova or the mainstream Supernova remains to be seen, however the new upcoming Nova series seems to hint at some connection.
- Height: (Saal) 5'10", (Super-Nova) 30'
- Weight: (Saal) 200lbs., (Super-Nova) 22.7 tons
- Eyes: Solid white, formerly brown
- Hair: Black, formerly brown
Guardians of the Galaxy
Garthan Saal is a Nova Denarian in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. He is portrayed by Peter Serafinowicz.
Saal is often seen with fellow Denarian Dey. The Nova Corps of the MCU do not have Nova Force powers but do pilot advanced spacecraft. While he does not trust Starlord or the Guardians, he fights alongside them against Ronan in defense of Xandar.