Val has to make a difficult choice in stunning, well-crafted Nocterra #2: ADVANCE REVIEW

Written by Scott Snyder, Art by Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey.

Back when the PM (the everlasting evening) started, Vals parents wanted to believe that this meant something. It wasn’t the end of days but the coming of glorious days. Val on the other hand has always believed that there was no such thing, and that no matter what, there’s always a way to get blindsided by a punch to the face. She finds out that the older man she is transporting is not being fully upfront with her, all while her brother's condition worsens. Blacktop Bill has killed her friends and burned down all their rigs trying to find her. It almost like she can see that punch coming…..

I can’t believe we are just two issues in, and yet it feels like so much has happened. We know a lot about what happened to the world in the tears since the great PM, we also know plenty about our main characters. Val being a very protective sister to her adoptive brother. This story is incredibly well crafted with so much depth given to not just the main characters, but to all interacting ones too. This really does show how much of a talent Scott Snyder is with his writing.

I have to say, I’m actually blow away by the whole creative team on this book. The monsters look both horrifying and yet so beautiful in the way they are drawn. It’s like watching a Guillermo del Toro film. Overall the artwork on this book is stunning. Although I would expect that from an artist of the calibre of Tony Daniel. I still to this day believe that his run on Detective Comics during the new 52 was some of the best stories and art I’ve ever seen in a book. So I do have a very high bar for him.

There is something else that’s used to great effect within this issue, and that’s the black pages. Used as an effective use of drama. It is used to perfectly portray the point. In the beginning of the issue we have the brief flashback of Val's past where her parents were part of a cult that was hoping for this situation to be the ascent into heaven. We then get a sharp cut to present day after she makes a comment that the angels are going to pick them up. This cut jumps to a half page of a creature pursuing them. As they get away, we get a monologue from Val about how this could be the dark before the light. Which is when we get a 2 page spread of just black. Which to me is the confirmation that light isn’t coming anytime soon. It could also be a throwback to remind us that before the PM, Val was blind. We even get a story in this issue about people teasing her. Despite being trucked she would always fall for it, as she wanted to never give up hope. So for this very quick 2 page spread, we can get a sense of what it was like for her. It’s supposed to be jolting, as it’s very unusual for a book to be completely black. So it does its job very well in hitting both the dramatic angle and the reference of the main character.

Considering how much I enjoy the stories of Scott Snyder it is surprising that I cannot stress how much I love this artwork even more than Snyder's writing. I cannot find a point where it even slumps. Usually there’s a singular panel where the artist didn’t put enough detail in. However each page is full of stunning art. Snyder's story is incredible as well. They both interact very well together. One point where they both go well together is with the main antagonist. Within the narration of the story, we are told that “This is a story about the things we can’t see” this is also a fantastic play on the book. As the overall story is about the everlasting PM, where it’s dark so people can’t see. Yet it’s also about Val’s interaction with Blacktop Bill, who is completely black to the point of being like a negative photograph. So this is a very clever play on words.

Overall this book has quickly become my go-to book when it’s been released. It’s first on the pile to read due to the fact that it’s so enjoyable. I cannot recommend this book enough. For lovers of a great story, you’ll love this, and for people who enjoy fantastic art, you’d love this too.

Nocterra #2 from Image Comics will be released on 7th April from your local comic shop as well as comixology

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