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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Celia’s Comic Review: Nocterra - Welcome to Perpetual Darkness

March 3, 2021 (#1), April 7, 2021 (#2)
Story: Scott Snyder
Art: Tony S. Daniel
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Andworld Design
Publisher: Image Comics
Genre: Dystopian
Age Rating: M
Ten years after the world is plunged into an everlasting night that turns all living creatures into monstrous shades, the only way to survive is to stay close to artificial light. Enter Valentina “Val” Riggs, a skilled ferryman who transports people and goods along deadly unlit roads with her heavily illuminated eighteen-wheeler.
# 1 -
# 2 -

Welcome to a world cloaked in darkness. One day, the sun set midday and never rose again. Then people, animals, and even plants began to mutate into…something else. Something dangerous. The survivors are also at risk of mutating if exposed to the dark too long. The solution? Artificial light. But is it enough?

Issue #1: There are so many good things about this new series from Scott Snyder. Volume 1 does a great job of setting up the story without info dump, dishing it out bit by bit so we can really get lost in the exciting and scary moments of life in everlasting darkness. There’s oodles of tension right from the start, when perpetual night strikes and a young brother and sister learn that nothing will ever be “normal” in their lives again. 

Fast-forward ten years, and our kickass heroine, Val, is struggling to save the one person she loves while also doing her job of safely transporting people and things from point A to B. Val has to accomplish these two goals while also avoiding infection, mutant monsters, and a super creepy villain, aptly named Blacktop Bill. Val’s world being coated in constant evening really plays on the classic, childhood fear of the dark, and it sucked me into the fear and paranoia of the characters who drape themselves and their surroundings in artificial light. If the light goes out, they’re toast. Ack! The cliff-hanger ending (no spoilers here) is great and made me so glad I already had issue #2 in my greedy hands.
Issue #2 picks up where the first one left off, with a little bit of the past before smacking us in the head with mutants attacking Val’s truck. The stakes are raised in this issue with a ticking clock o’ doom on Val’s loved one and the lives of her passengers also hanging in the balance. 

And then there’s Blacktop Bill. Super evil and laser-focused on his targets. Too bad Val stands in his way, but yay for us, because the action sequences, both with random mutant monsters (Shades) and with Bill and his crew are a thrill a minute. It’s like a blockbuster action movie in comic form. Awesome.
As for the art and colors and letters, this series is visually stunning from the cover to the last page, where an ominous tagline inside an eclipsed sun fuels the suspense and keeps me wanting more. The panel composition is interesting, and I especially like Blacktop Bill’s close-ups, and the fact he’s all black with a slash of white teeth in his black form. His lettering is white in black speech bubbles, while everyone else’s is black on white, and this adds to the whole evil vs. good vibe. 

The other characters are visually fun, too with some imaginative fashion, such as the dude with an octopus draped over his head and face. And I love our main character Val’s killer uniform, complete with a helmet in which we get to enjoy reflections, visually fun flares, and other goodies she puts to entertaining use. 

Overall, the color choices are beautiful and haunting with a constant play of artificial light versus the darkness, and I liked the use of black pages which really punctuated the ominous atmosphere. Fun tension! I also appreciated the clear, clever lettering and the thoughtful positioning of the text for sound effects. It not only fit the story but kept me deep in the world.

I’m soooooo looking forward to #3!

Issue #3
Published: May 5, 2021
Diamond ID: MAR210208

4.5 sheep

Guest Reviewer: Author Celia Breslin
Celia writes urban fantasy and romance, and likes to spend tons of time reading comics, binge-watching fantasy/sci-fi TV and movies, and playing video and board games with her family.

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