Comic Review: Nocterra #2 (Image Comics)

Val travels to Neon Grove along with her passengers, in search of some items to help aid her on the journey that lies ahead. Time is against Val as her […]

Val travels to Neon Grove along with her passengers, in search of some items to help aid her on the journey that lies ahead.

Time is against Val as her brother’s condition worsens, making him get one step closer to becoming the very creatures that dominate the dark hellscape that they live in. Meanwhile, Blacktop Bill and his dark forces are following Val’s trail, not so far behind.

This issue, Val finds herself in Neon Grove, a port station where ferrymen find supplies left behind by others to recharge their rigs and stock up on whatever items necessary for long trips within this nightmarish world. Snyder spends some time showing more bits and pieces of Val’s backstory before the big “PM” event that transformed the world into the dark reality that it became. Readers get a glimpse as to why Val’s attitudes and philosophies shaped her worldview and decision-making. But there are some interesting twists that are revealed that make the journey that Val embarks a worthwhile investment.

One of the best things about this issue is the antagonist Blacktop Bill. Snyder does a great job at creating mystery around this character. Whenever he shows up on the page, he just exudes this fear of the unknown. While he may have some personality, there isn’t much known about him, other than what he was hired for, and even then, there isn’t much about him that is revealed, making him a captivating silhouetted antagonist. In regards to the entirety of the issue, it’s a well-paced book, taking the time to allow characters and story to play out, developing mystery and tension that lends itself to the world that Snyder and co have crafted. This leaves readers wanting to see more of this world and Val’s journey.

As for the art of the book, Tony Daniel’s artwork is stunning and possibly might be the best work he has made in his career thus far. Daniel’s line and ink work is accompanied by Morey’s gorgeous colorwork, making the world of Nocterra a visual feast to read through. The entire art team delivers a lived-in world that feels thought out and lived in. And the lettering by Andworld Design compliments the art and writing, making the book a pleasurable reading experience, allowing for everything to breathe. Admittedly, this world that the entire creative team has developed, has all these elements in this book would fit so well in a video game. It all makes for some interesting stuff. It’s safe to say that Snyder and company are providing a really interesting story that retains investment in where they take Val next in the journey to restore the world. This book feels like a nice return to form compared to Snyder’s later DC work, and one can hope that he keeps the quality and consistency all the way to the very end. Nocterra issue 2 is worth adding to your Wednesday pull list.

Anthony Andujar Jr.

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