Written by: Scott Snyder, Art by: Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey.
The world has gone dark. An eternal darkness. Anything that lingers within the darkness for more than 10 hours is changed. It becomes a perverted form of itself, birds, fish, and even humans. It was easy to tell at first, but now 13 years on and these “shades” are no longer recognisable as past entities. They are now creatures, grotesque and out for the kill.
Val is a driver, it’s her job to be the ferryman. Carrying all sorts of cargo from one place to another, protecting and delivering them in one piece. Her adoptive brother Emory is her gadget man. Supplying her with everything she needs to do the job and to survive the journey. However, when Emory becomes sick and two strangers ask for help to go to a place that was only seen as a myth...a place where the sun still exists...it’s down to her to do her job. But can she get Em to safety in time, and who are these strangers willing to pay so much and promising the unbelievable?
I have been a fan of Scott Snyder for a while, so it goes without saying that I was going to read this book. Add to that the masterful artists Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey, and you have a truly world-class team. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of post-apocalyptic stories out there, and sometimes this story may seem very similar to others, such as Kevin Costner’s film The Postman (1997). However, Nocterra feels fresh from both a narrative perspective and artistically, through choices that are truly brilliant.
It’s always difficult to start a series, especially so when it’s a post-apocalyptic one with both horror and action elements. There’s a need to establish the characters so the reader can identify with them and empathise with their situation. On top of that you have a world to build, as well as explain why and what happened to the old one. This is difficult, as you don’t want to deliver too much exposition, but there will always be enough to set the stage. Snyder does this perfectly; I never felt like there was too much information thrown at me, unlike another Image title that I’ve reviewed. It’s just enough to fully understand the situation, and also to craft the backstory of Val. I feel like I know her incredibly well, and know what is going on in the world without sun. All of this done in one issue, not even an extended length one... just beautifully written.
Now I couldn’t talk about this book without discussing the artists. What Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey have done with this, is nothing short of exceptional. We get a sense of dread, horror, and action so easily throughout. However, what I think makes an artist great, is their ability to convey story without the need for text. The above few panels is a brief moment without speech or text, and it’s quite possibly the most powerful moment in the issue. Showing how much this new age relies and worships light, and then displays the emotion of Val. I knew both Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey from their times on Batman and Superman respectively. I would honestly say that this is their best work.
For anyone who wants a post-apocalyptic action / horror series that’s well written and beautifully presented. this is a must.
Nocterra #1 will be released on 3rd March from your local comic shop as well as comixology