REVIEW: ‘Nocterra,’ Issue #6

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nocterra #6

Nocterra #6 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. After learning that Tiberius sold them out to Blacktop Bill at the end of Nocterra #5, Val attempts to escape with Emory and Bailey. Complicating matters, Tiberius and Bill are searching for a place called “Nos” which Emory saw while he was transforming into a Shade.

This issue hearkens back to the first issue of the series and a question Val asked: “Where were you that morning?” This question refers to the day eternal night crept over the world, and it comes with an answer—whatever horrors you think are lurking in the dark, there’s always something worse. Snyder deftly ties past and present together by showcasing how deeply Tiberius’ betrayal cut. He represented a form of salvation to Val, both in terms of having a sanctuary from the darkness and providing the technology necessary to save her brother’s life. The shattering of that trust proves that the Shades and Blacktop Bill aren’t the only things to fear. The idea of humans embracing the darker sides of their narrative is a tried-and-true trope that helped spice up The Walking Dead during its golden years and I’m glad Snyder is leaning into that.

Yet it’s not all doom and gloom as a new dynamic emerges between Val, Emory, and Bailey. Bailey, having lost her grandfather, now has a surrogate family in the form of the Riggs siblings and even shows interest in becoming a Sundog. Emory is now fueled by the visions he saw while he was a Shade, which sows the seeds for more stories. But Val is the character who has undergone the most change. When the series launched, she was fairly cynical and thought the world was at an end. Now, with proof that there is light beyond the seemingly endless shadows, she’s gained a bit more faith. Good writers are able to develop their characters through time, no matter the medium; Val’s shift in perspective is a clear example of how to do it right.

Continuing with the horror elements, Daniel and Morey include a new type of Shade into the story and they are utterly horrifying. Daniel displays them as headless beings with razor-sharp points where their hands and feet should be, and Morey colors them in the same inky blackness that comprises Blacktop Bill’s entire figure. Even their word balloons are inhuman: jet black and filled with scratches that look more like the scribblings in a notebook than actual words. Val also describes their skin as feeling like “thousands of tiny blades” that cut through people with a noise that sounds like “Hush.” After reading this issue, I had a single thought: the creatures from A Quiet Place aren’t really that scary anymore.

Nocterra #6 marks the end of the series’ first story arc, blending notes of horror and hope along the way while setting up future stories. With Snyder set to expand his collection of creator-owned titles under his Best Jackett Press label, I look forward to all of his projects as well as future installments of Nocterra.

Nocterra #6 is available wherever comics are sold.

Nocterra #6
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TL;DR

Nocterra #6 marks the end of the series’ first story arc, blending notes of horror and hope along the way while setting up future stories. With Snyder set to expand his collection of creator-owned titles under his Best Jackett Press label, I look forward to all of his projects as well as future installments of Nocterra.