Wednesday, October 6, 2021

#IReadsYou Review: NOCTERRA #1

IMAGE COMICS/Best Jacket Press

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Scott Snyder
ART: Tony S. Daniels
COLORS: Tomeu Morey
LETTERS: Andworld Design
EDITOR: Will Dennis
COVER: Tony S. Daniels with Tomeu Morey
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Jock; Bosslogic; Greg Capullo
36pp, Colors, 3.99 U.S. (March 2021)

Rated “M/ Mature”


Nocterra is a new comic book series from writer Scott Snyder and artist Tony S. Daniels.  Published by Image Comics, Nocterra is set on an Earth that has been experiencing an everlasting night for well over a decade.  Colorist Tomeu Morey and letterer Andworld Design complete the series' creative team.

Nocterra #1 opens in Denver, Colorado in the fifth grade class of Valentina “Val” Riggs.  This is the day of the “Big PM,” when the sky goes dark and the world is plunged into an everlasting night.  Any living organism left unlit in the dark for more than 10 hours starts undergoing a biological transformation and changes into a monstrous version of itself, becoming something called a “Shade.”

Thirteen years later (“13 PM”), Val is a big rig hauler, driving a heavily-illuminated 18-wheeler, and her call sign in “Sundog.”  She is a skilled “ferryman” who transports people and goods along deadly unlit roads between the few remaining human outposts.  At Luxville, Colorado, a well-lit outpost, Val hopes to find her brother Emory a.k.a. “Em” in better condition.  Waiting for Val, however, are two people with a request for help that she cannot refuse and that will change everything.

THE LOWDOWN:  I enjoy Scott Snyder's creator-owned series more than I enjoy his recent work for DC Comics.  I find all that Dark Nights: Metal stuff mostly unreadable, but I enjoyed Wytches (2014-15).

Nocterra #1 is a strong first issue because it offers so much information.  Snyder keeps a lot of secrets, but he gives readers a clear understanding of the basics when it comes to the lead character, the setting, and the plot.  Of course, the next few issues will thrill the readers with shocking reveals and new mysteries, but Snyder does not leave me with the maddening feeling that instead of reading the first issue of a comic book I have actually read a teaser.  Andworld Design's lettering conveys the shifts in tone of the dialogue, from the introspection of Val to the urgent appeals of her brother, Em.

Readers may be surprised to see how subdued Tony Daniels' art is.  His pencils are subtle and impressionistic, more original Mad Max than Mad Max: Fury Road.  The inking captures the nuance in the characterization and the action.  Daniels plus colorist Tomeu Morey is always a good thing, and here, Morey creates the sense of an eternal night dotted by the neon twilight of the human outposts.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Scott Snyder and Tony S. Daniels will want to sample Nocterra.

8 out of 10

[This comic book includes “A Note from Scott,” an afterword by Scott Snyder.]

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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