Frankie Raye (Marvel Comics)

Publication information

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First appearance: 
(Frankie Raye) Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #164 (November, 1975)
(Nova) Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #244 (July, 1982)
Origin: Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #238 (January, 1982)
Appearance of Death: Heralds #5 (August, 2010)
Created by: Roy Thomas (writer) and George Pérez (artist)

In-story information

Alter ego: Frankie Raye
Notable aliases: Nova, Human Torch, Frances Hyatt
Relatives: "Thomas Raye" (Phineas T. Horton, stepfather, deceased), Thomas Raymond (Toro, possible biological father); Lanette Raye (mother)
Affiliations: Air-Walker, Firelord, Galactus, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Julie Angel, Mister Fantastic, Punisher (Galactus' Robot), Silver Surfer, Terrax the Tamer, Thing

Team affiliations: Defenders (Valkyrior), Heralds of Galactus, formely Fantastic Four, The United Nations
Enemies: Agent Brand, Astronomer, Bartak, Champion of the Universe, Collector, Contemplator, Dro'ge Fenu Edu, Ecce, Ego the Living Planet, Gardener, Grandmaster, In-Betweener, Khoon, Morg the Executioner, Possessor, Marvel Girl (Days of Future Past), Reptyl Prime, Runner, Star Stalker, Trader

Abilities: Use of Power Cosmic
Base Of Operations: World-ship of Galactus.


Alignment: Good
Identity Secret: Secret
Race: Human
Citizenship: American
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Former herald of Galactus, adventurer, translator
Education: College graduate


Height: 162,56 cm
Weight: 59 kg
Eyes: Blue, (White as Nova)
Hair: Red, (Flaming as Nova)
Skin: Gold (as Nova)
Unusual Features:


Origin: Exposed to Horton Cells in her youth, which laid dormant until she came into contact with Human Torch (Johnny Storm) activating her powers. She was later enhanced further by Galactus' Cosmic Powers.

Universe: Earth-616 
Place of Birth: New York City


Early Life

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.[1][2] 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.[3] 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.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7] 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.

Powers and Abilities


Originally the powers of Human Torch but at lower levels.

Her powers were later enhanced exponentially by an infusion of cosmic energies by the world-devourer Galactus. She gained superhuman strength, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes. She had the ability to manipulate cosmic energy in the form of stellar fire, and which allowed her to project any form of energy possessed by a star, including heat, light, gravity, radio waves and charged particles. She also had the ability to project streams of stellar fire for
distances in the hundreds of miles, and to mentally control the flame she projects (for instance, to maintain a sustained ring around a person or object at a fixed distance). She also has the ability to fly at supra-light speeds through interstellar space and traverse hyper-space, and also possesses near-total physical invulnerability. Nova's entire body, particularly her head, is plumed with cosmic energy resembling flames.


Raye spoke several languages fluently.

Strength level

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.