April 30, 2023
Welcome to another special edition of the EYG Comic Cavalcade where I focus on Image Comics series Nocterra. I read issues #3-13 today, along with the Nocterra: Blacktop Bill Special #1.
I have no idea why I had been buying Nocterra. It was on my pull list and I had been buying them and putting them in the piles around the house. When I started off with the Comic Catch-Ups, I sorted through a bunch of the books, finding the issues of Nocterra. I assume that I saw it advertised in Previews and asked for it to be pulled. I do not remember doing it, but that is the only reason it could be happening. I certainly wasn’t picking it up off the stands every month. I hardly knew anything about it.
Then, as I started reading these back issues, I read issue #1 and I loved it. I was so engaged with the new world that they had introduced and intrigued by the originality of the setting. A lot of independent books these days have some kind of post-apocalyptic world as a setting and a lot of those get repetitive. The world of Nocterra, an the other hand, is creative and one of a kind.
Issue #2 was just as great and I was hooked. That was when I decided that I would hold off on reading any more of the issues until I could sit down with the remaining 11 issues (+the special one) and do a full series read.
That time was this afternoon.
I love the characters in this book. Val and her brother Em are top notch protagonists and Val’s sacrifice that lead to her physical transformation in issue #11 was a cool twist. The remainder of the members of the Sundogs balance things out. Admittedly, the secondary members are not major players at this point, outside of Bailey.
Blacktop Bill. Maybe the best villain introduced in comic in years. The design of the character is just exceptional, creating such an awesome looking bad guy. He reminded me a lot of Spike from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, especially while he was ‘working with’ the Sundogs.
Blacktop Bill was so great of a character, they even gave him a special issue of his own, as they looked at the background of the character. I did enjoy the way they displayed the characters, keeping his face in the shadows, even before he was covered with the Nano coating.
Scott Snyder has written the entire series so far. Snyder has been fairly well known for his work on DC Comics, in particular Batman. Admittedly, he did write the Dark Nights: Metal stuff which I did not like at all, but the Batman Who Laughs is a fun character who probably inspired or was inspired by Blacktop Bill.
The art has been handled by Tony S. Daniel, who also did a lot of work for DC. His art has been extraordinary in Nocterra so far. The themes of light and dark are used extremely well in the art. Technically, Denys Cowan was the credited artist for the Blacktop Bill Special.
The arcs so far have all been awesome. I will say that I hope the comic keeps moving forward. I do hope that they are not just going to be always trying to save the world from the darkness with Bailey and the formula that she memorized, created by her grandfather, Augustus. That feels like something that needs to eventually be paid off or it would feel as if the book is just keeping the goal post moving.
I am also totally engaged in the current flashbacks involving Em and what his birth parents did to him. His backstory of traveling to see his birth parents in #13 left me yelling for more as it ended with a cliffhanger.
This is a book that I do not know why I started buying, but I am so glad that I did. It is currently one of my favorite non-Marvel books that I am purchasing, right up there with the James Tynion IV books and No/One.