Nocterra Vol. 1 fires on all cylinders
Scott Snyder and Tony S. Daniel’s Nocterra Vol. 1 lights up the apocalypse with a mix of sci-fi, mythology and thrills.
What would happen if the sun went down? In the world of Nocterra by Scott Snyder and Tony S. Daniel, a mysterious event causes the sun to disappear, leaving the world submerged in darkness that mutates everything in its path. Now available in a collection of six issues, Nocterra is a gripping thriller that mixes elements of sci-fi, horror and mythology for perfect play during the spookiest season of the year.
Nocterra Flight. 1 follows Val, a young woman who guides people between towns. In the dark landscape of Nocterra, smugglers like Val are the only way to travel long distances without being devoured alive by the Mutant Shadows that haunt the darkness. One day, Val is approached by a man named Gus to escort him and his granddaughter Bailey to a sanctuary that doesn’t exist on any map, where the sunlight still shines. Val agrees, taking her brother Emory with her, in hopes of curing his growing infection with Shade. But when the group leaves, they learn that someone is chasing them. Who is Blacktop Bill, and why does he want to prevent Gus from reaching the shrine?
Fresh out of the success of Black Nights: Death Metal, Snyder uses Nocterra mixes science and mythology to create a unique tradition for the characters and their environment. Terminology and well-crafted concepts such as shades, specks, and light’s healing properties help provide the foundation for the text, allowing the complex character dynamics to give readers something to root for. Val is an engaging lead with an incredible story, and her complicated relationship with her brother Emory informs everything she does. While the real world still grapples with the impact of COVID-19, there is an added layer of tragedy and fear every time Snyder looks at the reactions of society to his first contact with Shades when the lights go down. are extinguished. It helps readers endear the main cast of the book, as Val and Emory’s tale is more relevant than ever.
Daniel delivers some of his best work in years to Nocterra. The series is filled with massive monsters and mayhem, giving Daniel ample opportunity to portray dark creatures in action. The shades themselves appear to have been burnt until crisp, and then their insides boiled towards the surface, with bubbling bulges covered in flakes and ash. Val is a strong visual contrast to these monstrosities, with a sleek design and an inventive helmet that has dynamic flourishes that only apply when she’s in action.
Beyond, the landscape of Nocterra is responsible for much of the success of the book. Daniel and colourist Tomeu Morey could have chosen the easy way and filled the pages with giant specks of pure black. Instead of, Nocterra feels fleshed out and real, just hidden in the dark. Morey’s colors are essential in this regard, as Daniel still gives his pages all the details of a well-lit world. Morey carefully uses the light sources in the text to illuminate the scenes, and the resulting shadows are rendered beautifully so as to never undermine the depth of Daniel’s line art. Since light is such an important part of this series, Morey’s talents are absolutely invaluable and completely transform the story.
For fans looking to step onto the pitch with Scott Snyder’s new Best Jackett Press titles, Nocterra is an absolute must. The series is a surprisingly optimistic look at the end of the world that balances the line between high-level sci-fi and spirituality. Snyder, Daniel, Morey, and the entire creative team are shooting all the cylinders, and it’s clear they’re having the best time of their lives. While it’s okay to be afraid of the dark, Nocterra Flight. 1 reminds readers that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
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