REVIEW: ‘Nocterra,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nocterra #2

Nocterra #2 is written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Tony S. Daniel, colored by Tomeu Morey, and lettered by Andworld Design. It is published by Image Comics. Following the end of the first issue, Val Riggs takes her brother Emory and her mysterious new passengers across the Great Divide. Along the way, Val starts to learn the mystery behind the darkness that plagues the Earth and encounters the malevolent Blacktop Bill.

The issue opens with a flashback during the beginning of the darkness, which adds more emotional weight to Val’s journey. Emory is all she has, and their relationship runs parallel to their passengers’. As with the first issue, the creative team continues to flesh out the nightmare that the world has become. Not only are more Shades revealed, but the issue also features brightly lit “pit stops” for Sundogs to stop and recharge their vehicles. The particular “truck stop” where the issue takes place is called the Neon Grove, so-called for the various neon signs that are bolted to its trees. 

Daniel has the chance to design a frightening figure in Blacktop Bill. He is entirely covered in black, with the lone exception being his sinister smile. Even his word balloons are pure black, with white letters. Daniel also gives Bill’s crew of bikers a distinct look, with glowing blue eyes and haunted grins carved into their helmets. Morey brings a lighter touch to this issue, which makes sense considering the majority of the issue occurs in a massively lit environment.

The art team also draws stellar action sequences. The modern-day part of the book opens with a massive Shade chasing Val’s rig, and it ends on an explosive note-quite literally, as grenades tumble out of Val’s rig and send Bill’s forces tumbling. Daniel favors close-up panels in these sequences, which puts the characters’ emotions on display. From Val’s tension to Bill’s sadistic smile, there’s plenty of emotion in this book, and I love it!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wild ideas that Snyder brings to the table with his script. Not only does he reveal what caused the darkness, but the ending also hints at more horror to come for Val and her passengers. Blacktop Bill’s addition makes things even more frightening, as he is relentless in his pursuit of Val. While he took a similar story and structure approach to Undiscovered Country, both comics feel unique in their approach to the genre. Snyder is in a unique clubhouse with King in Black’s Donny Cates and Killadelphia’s Rodney Barnes as all three manage to put new twists on their respective genres and universes-and all three aren’t afraid to put their most outrageous ideas on the page.

Nocterra #2 continues to peel back the layers of the shadow world and introduces an utterly frightening new antagonist. With Val on the run and Blacktop Bill in hot pursuit, things have kicked into high gear, and this road trip has taken a turn for the worst.

Nocterra #2 is available now wherever comics are sold. 


Nocterra #2
4

TL;DR

Nocterra #2 continues to peel back the layers of the shadow world and introduces an utterly frightening new antagonist. With Val on the run and Blacktop Bill in hot pursuit, things have kicked into high gear, and this road trip has taken a turn for the worst.