REVIEW: 'Nocterra' #2 by Scott Snyder, Tony Daniel, and Tomeu Morey

“FULL THROTTLE DARK,” Part Two: Val brings her passengers to their first truckstop—the Neon Grove! But with her brother getting worse by the minute, and dark forces in hot pursuit, our ferryman finds herself faced with a grave decision.


Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Tony Daniel, Tomeu Morey
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: April 7, 2021
Diamond ID: FEB210194
Age Rating: M

Cover price: $3.99


★★★☆☆ (3/5)

It would seem too early in the series for a truck stop, I mean a "port" stop but that's exactly what writer Scott Snyder has decided to do with 'Nocterra' #2. Who am I to question the best-selling Eisner Award-winner's decision? With that, the action takes a backseat as Val Riggs aka Sundog, lays down the law to her fares and demands answers. 

After an explosive first issue that introduced us to this dystopian world where darkness reigns 24/7 and ferrymen like Val transport people and goods amid a barrage of mutated monsters brought on by the dark, issue two puts the brakes on the storytelling momentum. During this mostly quiet stop her passenger reveals his plans for when they get to their destination. His monologue explains the who, what, and why of his plans and how it affects this global blackout. Val remains uncertain but with her brother's condition worsening and now Blacktop Bill hot on her trail her choices are very limited. 

This port stop as they prefer to call it is stunningly illustrated by Tony Daniel and Tomeu Morey. A woodsy turnout illuminated with various neon signs pops with bright neon colors against the dark branches of the forest. And as they walk further into the woods the mixture of moonlight and neon light provide a gorgeous backdrop despite the very real dangers they're discussing. It's a lot of talking and Val makes it clear she's no one's fool so regardless of what he's said she still intends to get paid. 

In developing Val's character Snyder tries to draw a balance between her tough-as-nails ferryman persona and her loving concern as a big sister to Emory. It succeeds in adding some more dimensions to Val to keep her from becoming a one-note action figure. She's also the narrator informing us of the world that was and how things had changed. She's carrying this story but it's just a curious choice to have it all slow down in only the second issue.

'Nocterra' #2 takes a bit of a break both literally and figuratively as the issue takes place at a rest stop. It still looks fantastic as drawn and colored by Daniel and Morey but the story becomes momentarily idle with little new information. This high-octane dystopian adventure is on a lunch break and we can't wait to hit the road again.