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‘Nocterra #2:’ Comic Book Review

The second issue of Scott Snyder and Tony Daniel’s new series, Nocterra, brings Val and her brother two new passengers at the Neon Grove truck stop – the first of many before they reach their destination. But some R&R isn’t in the cards, because just as Val’s brother shows signs of getting worse, a dangerous foe catches up to them, forcing Val to make a grave decision.

Without a doubt, Snyder and co. aren’t holding back on anything. Some stories may wait a little to develop before revealing a central plot point/twist about the mysterious character with an obvious secret, but this series doesn’t. A significant revelation about this universe and the setting as a whole, along with the passengers, is revealed (which won’t be spoiled here), changing the way the series may progress—and we’re only two issues in! Whether or not that’s a good thing is yet to be seen, but with Snyder and Daniel on board, it’s a safe bet that the story is in good hands.

Aside from the big story revelation, Snyder provides interesting information in this frightening, new world. One such instance was the truck stops called Ports; these are essentially resting places lit up with neon lights, where dangerous encounters seem to be more prevalent than resting.  As Val explains, driving through the “Big PM” is like sailing on uncharted waters, with everything they knew just gone between waves. Viewing the story through a futuristic sea adventure lens improves the storytelling experience as it allows familiar magic that only a good pirate story can tell.

The artwork and colors also have to be applauded, especially when it comes to this dark world. Empty space is utilized to its fullest extent. It’s used to light up the scene with bright colors of the neon signs or the dull shine of a flashlight and to enhance the perpetual darkness of the world the characters have lived in. One prominent use of empty space is two splash pages; they’re entirely black, with the second counting down the miles to their destination. It’s a representation of Val’s experience with the absence of light, both through the “Big PM” and her blindness at an early age.  Nothingness is all that everyone can see now, and it’s perhaps why Val is so good at her job: She’s comfortable living without the light.

Nocterra #2 is an impressive second entry that builds on this new world and story. It’s like they mixed all of the best parts of Mad Max: Fury Road, Event Horizon, and Alan Wake to create an exciting and creative, new story. And if issue one was the setup, issue two is the start of a long and epic car chase that everyone should be paying attention to.

Creative Team: Scott Snyder (writer); Tony S. Daniel (art); Tomeu Morey (colors); Andworld Design (letters); Will Dennis (editor); Tyler Jennes (assistant editor); Emma Price (graphic design)
Publisher: Image Comics
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