REVIEW: 'Nocterra' #1 by Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel, and Tomeu Morey

 "FULL THROTTLE DARK," Part One-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.

This March, legendary creators SCOTT SNYDER (Dark Knights: Death Metal, WYTCHES) and TONY S. DANIEL (Batman, Deathstroke) unveil horrors beyond any shade in this extra-sized first issue.


Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist: Tony Daniel, Tomeu Morey

Letters: Deron Bennett

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: March 3, 2021

Cover Price: $3.99


 ★★★★☆ (4/5)

I'm going to dispense with any pretense here, 'Nocterra' #1 is a great comic. The world-building, the characters, the action, the art, it's all first-rate and executed to precision. And why wouldn't it? Scott Snyder and Tony Daniel are two of the comic industry's best talents at the height of their powers and that's why this much-hyped debut lives up to the fanfare. 

Val Riggs remembers where she was when the world went dark, when "The Big P.M." blotted out the sun for good and brought out the monsters. She was a young adopted daughter riding with her brother Emory and parents on the day it happened. The sudden nightfall brought with it an inexplicable mutation that transforms plantlife, animals, and humans into bloodthirsty monsters they call Shades. The mutation occurs if one is left in darkness for ten hours so survivors must live with constant life-saving lanterns and lighting that keeps away the creatures. Val's one of the ferrymen who ferry people and goods between outposts. It's sort of 'White Line Fever' meets 'Alien.'

Snyder and Daniel aren't trying to reinvent the wheel here. This is comfort food for your sci-fi/horror soul. Big action, noble heroes, danger at every turn is a comic book staple and no one does it better than these two. With a confident and fearless heroine like Val leading the charge, 'Nocterra' is not designed to alter the dystopian comic genre but to master it all together. The brisk back story and narration reveals a lot in a short time and lead straight into some frenetic and visceral 18-wheeler versus flying monster battle royale. 

Daniel and colorist Tomeu Morey conjure up some riveting visuals that flow and shock with great tempo all washed in lush warm colors. Daniel's character designs are no surprise here; detailed, gorgeous, and creative. Even in the quiet moments when characters reflect amid a sky full of paper lanterns, the artful direction is captivating.
'Nocterra' #1 sets the stage for another epic adventure that's part road trip, part suicide run. Snyder and Daniel offer up their signature dish of mayhem and heroics in another dystopian future. Move over Hasselhoff, Val Riggs is the new nightrider. 



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