- Spare the Earth, Galactus, and take me as your new herald.
- -- Frankie Raye src
Frankie Raye's biological father deserted his family when she was young. Her mother married a man she knew as Thomas Raye, an eccentric repairman who worked in his small laboratory as a hobby. Frankie's mother passed away, leaving her in her stepfather's care. Without any other family activities, she helped him in his lab.
When Thomas first learned about the Human Torch (Johnny Storm) of the Fantastic Four, he flew into a rage. Frankie had no way of knowing his secret: his real name was Phineas T. Horton, and he had created the first Human Torch, an android. The government later shut down his research and put the deactivated Torch and his old equipment in a warehouse. Raye went with Horton to the warehouse. While carrying some bottles of chemicals containing Horton Cells, she fell through some weak planks. The bottles broke. The chemicals doused her and burst into flame.
Raye not only survived the experience, she found that she could generate flame from her own body, like the Human Torch, and even control nearby fires. Horrified, Horton tried to protect her from the alienation that he had seen the first Torch undergo, so he hypnotized her and ordered her to forget the experience and to develop pyrophobia (fear of fire). He also created a transparent suit for her that would suppress her powers and hypnotically ordered her to ignore the suit. Finally, to protect her from his ghosts, he left her to live on her own at the age of fourteen, although he sent a check every month.For the next few years, Raye lived a relatively normal life. She finished high school and college and got a job as an interpreter.
Meeting Johnny Storm
A subconscious compulsion drew her to Johnny Storm despite her pyrophobia, and when they met, they began a relationship. The new Human Torch eventually became aware of her transparent suit, a mystery made even deeper by her insistence that it didn't exist. Reed Richards soon solved the mystery and released her from her hypnotic conditioning. Sue Storm convinced Richards to let her join the team as another Human Torch. She soon learned to control her powers more precisely than Storm, albeit at lower levels.
Herald of Galactus
The arrival of Galactus interrupted Raye's new-found freedom. Despite his oath to spare Earth, Galactus had become weak and felt he had no other option. Raye saw an opportunity to save Earth and to emulate both her fathers by abandoning it: she volunteered to become Galactus' new herald. He agreed to the proposal because it allowed him to keep his oath. Raye received the Power Cosmic and became Nova.
Raye now had almost unlimited freedom. Her only duty was to find new worlds for Galactus to consume. Because she guided death to billions of people, and possibly because of her chaotic upbringing, she became inured to the suffering of others. Victims of Galactus during Nova's time as his herald included Tarnax IV, the throne-world of the Skrull. The Silver Surfer became a friend during this period. He saw her falling into the same apathy he himself had experienced when he was Galactus' herald. He showed her a world and asked if she would choose it for her master. When she said yes, he confessed that he had taken her back in time and shown her her own planet: Earth.
Her compassion made her useless to Galactus. He replaced her with Morg, and she became the Silver Surfer's companion. Along with several other former heralds, they attempted to remove Morg to protect countless inhabited worlds. In the ensuing battle, Morg killed Nova by blasting her from behind. As punishment, Galactus stripped Morg of his Power Cosmic, and the other heralds finally defeated him. The Silver Surfer entombed Nova's body in a star.
Frankie recently showed being not-dead-after-all, working in a diner in Nevada. A psychic shock-wave from space struck Las Vegas and Frankie flipped out, stabbing one of the patrons before hopping in her car and speeding down the road. She saw her father standing in the road, and swerved to avoid him, crashing her car. He father greeted her, and Frankie exploded in a flash of light. As the series continues, female superheroes Emma Frost, Hellcat, Monica Rambeau, She-Hulk and Valkyrie find her and after a brief discussion where they speculate that she could be a returned Frankie Raye, which she denies, claiming her name is Frances, they agree to take her to the Baxter Building. At the same time, a fully flamed Nova arrives in New York, causing Johnny Storm's powers to activate automatically.
Originally the powers of Human Torch (Johnny Storm) but at lower levels.
Her powers were later enhanced exponentially by an infusion of cosmic energies by the world-devourer Galactus. Nova's entire body, particularly her head, is plumed with cosmic energy resembling flames.
Cosmic Energy Manipulation: Nova primary use of the Power Cosmic is to manipulate cosmic energy in the form of stellar fire. Her entire organic carbon-based body was transformed to accommodate the nuclear energies that course through her. These energies make her the humanoid equivalent of a miniature sun. Projected from any point on her body at mental command, Nova's energies encompass the entire electromagnetic spectrum possessed by a star: heat, light, gravity, radio waves, and charged particles. The maximum amount of energy she can produce at once is determined by her mass. When all the atoms of her body are in fusion, her energy level is equivalent to the outer layers of a small star. By the slightest manifestation of her stellar powers, she can burn through any Earthly substance, with the known exceptions of True Adamantium and Captain America's shield. She can project a stream of fire resembling a solar flare for distances measured in the hundreds of miles. Nova can control the path of her cosmic fire to such an extent that he can project a sustained ring at a fixed distance around a person or object.
- Cosmic Knowledge: Along with the Power Cosmic comes great knowledge of the Universe that is already known by Galactus. Nova possesses the knowledge of the stars in space as easily as she knows the back of her hand.
- Flight: By utilizing his cosmic power uni-directionally. Nova can fly at near-light speeds through interstellar space. (Flying at such speeds near planetary bodies, however, could cause devastating gravitational disturbances.) Nova can even traverse hyperspace without danger to herself. Nova uses the gravitational fields of stars to help her break her speed.
- Superhuman Strength: Nova's cosmically enhanced form grants her physical strength far in excess of a human being. While channeling the Power Cosmic into acts of physical strength, she can augment her musculature to the point of being able to lift up to 40 tons.
- Superhuman Stamina: Nova's enhanced musculature is vastly more efficient than the musculature of a human being. During physical activity, Nova's muscles produce virtually no fatigue toxins, granting her almost limitless physical stamina. However, Nova's brain is still organic and does, on occasion, require her to sleep for the purposes of maintaining mental stability.
- Superhuman Durability: Although Nova still possesses a solid physical body, she is virtually impervious to most forms of physical harm. Her body automatically incinerates most projectiles before it reaches the surface of her "skin." Nova is also functionally immortal in the sense that she is immune to disease and to the effects of aging. She no longer needs to eat since her body takes its nourishment from the carbon-carbon cycle of solar fusion. She no longer needs to breathe air and hence can exist indefinitely in the hard vacuum of space. She can withstand the blazing heat of the stars in the universe.
- Superhuman Senses: Nova can senses can detect a speck of dust in motion a million miles away and also scan the vastness of space to locate a specific object.
- Superhuman Agility: Nova's agility, balance, and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels that are beyond the natural physical limits of the finest human athlete.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Nova's reflexes are similarly enhanced and are superior to those of the finest human athlete.
Raye spoke several languages fluently.
As Nova, Raye could lift (press) approximately 40 tons; however, she could augment her strength with the Power Cosmic.
- Pyrophobia: Horton tried to protect her from the alienation that he had seen the first Torch undergo, so he hypnotized her and ordered her to forget the experience and to develop pyrophobia a fear of fire.
- Fire Resistant Transparent Suit: He also created a transparent suit for her that would suppress her powers and hypnotically ordered her to ignore the suit.
In Power Pack #58, it is implied that a homeless man with the power to flame on named Mr. Raymond is in fact Frankie Raye's father. Mr. Raymond is also implied to be Thomas Raymond, the World War II superhero Toro.
- 100 Appearances of Frankie Raye (Earth-616)
- 4 Minor Appearances of Frankie Raye (Earth-616)
- Media Frankie Raye (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 35 Images featuring Frankie Raye (Earth-616)
- 7 Quotations by or about Frankie Raye (Earth-616)
- Character Gallery: Frankie Raye (Earth-616)
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