Val Riggs and her passengers take a pit stop, but danger is never too far off in this nightmare world.
Val Riggs and her motley passengers continue down the road and into danger. And given this is a series about an encroaching, mutating, creeping darkness there’s certainly a lot of light and colour. But then, they do stop off at one of many “ports” that we learn have been set up by fellow truckers to help one another recharge and offer a safe haven in a world gone dark and dangerous.
This neon-lit stop-off – beautifully rendered by colour artists Tomeu Morey over Tony S Daniel art – offers readers a chance to catch their breath themselves and take stock of last issue’s set up. Val Riggs, or Sundog as she is known by her fellow truckers, is cut from the same cloth as Han Solo because she’s all about the money. And, like Han Solo, she really has a heart of gold. She just doesn’t know it yet.
After the first issue, this is more of a slower pace of affairs but that doesn’t mean to say there isn’t any action. Not when the whole country is populated by freakish mutants with hunger from human flesh. And Daniel’s excels in creating these gnarled, grotesque creatures. The landscape he presents is equally menacing too. Something Riggs has gotten used to in her time on the road. After all, it’s the only world she’s grown up in and known from childhood.
And while I was concerned that this road trip across a dystopian America may be too similar to Scott Snyder’s other creator owned titles from Image Comics – Undiscovered Country – there are thematic differences that does differentiate itself from the former. And after two issues it really is early days yet for this series. With so may literal and figurative paths down the road to come, I am sure that Nocterra will definitely be something different. And with the introduction of this series villain – or at least one of them – those differences are beginning to be revealed.
What is similar, but in a good way, is the same imaginativeness in creating antagonists of a bizarre bent. Although the posse backing him up do seem to be one part Mad Max rejects with the aesthetic design sense of Tron 2.
Of course, we’re still in the very early stages of world building and knowing Snyder past work, what we’re seeing now may very well be very far from what we get later on down the line. But, with a lot of explanation another tantalising flashback and her brother’s ongoing metamorphosis too, it’s a book that’s till got my attention for a good while longer. Especially with art this good.
Nocterra #2 is out Wednesday 7th April from Image Comics/Best Jacket Press