Image Comics reviews 3/3/21 – Nocterra #1

It must be an incredible feeling for comic book creators who strike out on their own and as they’re putting together their new project realize they’ve got a hit on their hands.

For writer Scott Snyder, artist Tony S. Daniel and colorist Tomeu Morey, it must have been early on in the creative process of Nocterra, a book that suggests there is something that’s going bump in the night…and worse.

Given his pedigree on American Vampire, it’s probably not shocking that Snyder was able to conceive a horror adventure focused around the dark and the possible terrors within.

Nocterra explores Earth where the sun has been absent for over a decade. A condition in the air corrupts anything — human, animal, insect, plant, etc. — and turns them into hunters seeking to wipe out anything else that’s not part of The Shades. To survive, humanity stays lit — literally, wrapping random lights around them to avoid the plague of darkness. They reside in lightbulbs heavy towns with candles and flames keeping the light going.

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Among those survivors is Val, a ferryman that transports people and other cargo from one outpost to another. Val recalls where she was when the sun went out and how it affected her adopted parents and brother, Emory. Kudos to Snyder for making his two leads, Latina and black. For the lip service about diversity, the best way is to keep creating main characters who are minorities instead of just assuming readers won’t be invested.

When a mysterious man and his granddaughter offer Val a huge payday, she’s not interested until she learns the road trip could be the only thing that saves Emory.

Daniel’s designs are fantastic where for the simple outpost residents or Val’s more super heroic attire. Snyder chose an excellent collaborator as Daniel’s clean layouts and unflinching commitment to detail drive the sense of danger and makeshift way of life in the outposts. In a book where darkness and light does matter, Morey’s use of gradients is especially useful.

nocterra #1 greg capullo cover

Nocterra seems ready made for a live-action translation and it wouldn’t be shocking to see it on Netflix, Amazon, etc. within a few years.
This is a very strong debut issue and well worth getting in on the opening miles of what looks to be a very exhilarating road trip.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Photo Credit: Image Comics

Check out Scott Snyder’s latest chapter of American Vampire with American Vampire 1976 on Amazon.

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