Advance Review: ‘Nocterra’ #3 Needed To Change Up Gear, But Doesn’t
by Olly MacNamee
Nocterra #3 sees our would-be post-apocalyptic hero, Val, on the road and finding trouble round every corner. But, is it becoming to draw out and formulaic before it even gets a chance to rev up the story?
Nocterra #3 opens up – like the previous two issue – with a flashback sequence revealing more about the horrifying events that led to the current deadly darkness enveloping the world and changing all living things into monsters. It’s always the part of a zombie film that I enjoy the most. You know the type of scene: a TV reporter on air trying to warn the public, only for the newsroom to be suddenly overrun by the undead. The eye of the storm captured in all its chaotic glory as humanity realises too late what’s happening. I love it! And I loved this too, even if the zombies have been swapped out for creatures far more deadly and far more sentient too. We witness the younger Val and her brother, Emery face the frightening truth that their parents have turned before returning to the prints day of the series, and a world that has come to terms with the new world order.
Val is still on the road and being pursued by a silhouetted assassin referred to here as Blacktop Bill. And while this is yet another issue focusing on a glorified road chase, Tony S Daniel’s artwork at least captures the energy and speed of the chase with Tomeu Morey’s colours one again brightening up a world that really shouldn’t be this dazzling. There are sacrifices and foreshadowing, but all-in-all, it’s still comes down to this issue being yet another drawn out chase. And I can’t see this formula changing any time soon as they look for a hidden, legendary sanctuary. It’s all very reminiscent of Logan’s Run in that aspect. And, an end point that can be drawn out for as long as the creators wish. That may be too long for me, and after just three issues I’m already running low on gas when trying to muster up enthusiasm for this book.
And, yes, by this third issue there is plenty to differentiate it from Scott Snyder’s other post-apocalyptic road trip from Hell, Undiscovered Country, but after three issues it’s just not grown on me, I’m afraid. While the opening scene is appropriately dramatic and edge-of-the-seat stuff, the car chase and truck stops already feel like they’re being drawn out. It feels as though Snyder and Daniel’s clearly have a story to tell, but they also want to show off the darkened world they have clearly created and built. There’s a lot of that in Undiscovered Country too, so to buy two comics following similar paths is one comic too many for this reader.
Time and again Snyder has proven he can do horror, but other than the tension of the opener in this issue, there really wasn’t anything that gripped me. And, if I’m not enjoying a comic, I don’t really want to continue posting bad reviews in the hope it gets better eventually. I didn’t even get carried away with the abduction of a particular character – which sets up a plot point to be returned to later on down the road – which was clearly set up as one of the shocks of this issue.
And so, I’ll be taking this one off my pull list and off my review pile after this review. After all, there are still plenty of comic books put there for me to enjoy. And more from Snyder and Daniel too. Just not this one, I’m afraid.
Sadly, this series puts the “sag” into “saga” and I just wished it could have slipped into a higher gear, pick up the pace of the story and keep my attention.