Issue #2 of Noctua turns the focus away from the vampires/transhumans to the human component of the illegal blood trade. Xavier and his goons are not pleased to hear they won’t be receiving payment since the last shipment was never delivered and, predictably, bloodshed ensues. A lot of mob-like wheeling and dealing fills the majority of this 27-page issue, as the transhumans struggle to find a solution to their little, illegal problem. The final part of the issue reveals the origin and scientific basis for HVV, which starts to reveal a little more about who and what Noctua may be.
Frankly, I wanted more of the science-y portion of Noctua #2. I adore stories that explore how vampirism could be biologically induced and/or explained, and the section explaining the virus’ appearance, development, and spread warmed the cockles of my geeky, little heart. I wanted to know much more about how the possible treatments worked and the relationship between the great horned owl and the vampire bat in the wild. I was less fascinated by the mob-style behavior of the dark underbelly of society in this near-present world, although I’m eager to see if readers will be rewarded with a massive shoot-out at any point.
Noctua’s artwork isn’t photograph perfect, but the rougher edges and style fit the dark, gritty world readers are dropped into. It does the job to create an atmosphere and help illustrate the visual points of the plot.
Overall, Noctua #2 probably pairs best with Noctua #1 as a sequential read, since they present two sides of a very similar story. Also, the events in the first issue directly affect some of the actions in #2. I don’t know if I’ll run out and try to track down future issues of Noctua, but it’s definitely a worthwhile addition to vampire literature.
3.75 Great Horned Owls out of 5