Review: ‘Nocterra’ #5 Brings A Welcome Change Of Course For This Horror/Sci-Fi Series

by Olly MacNamee


Val, Emory and Bailey seemed to have finally found sanctuary as well as Bailey’s uncle. What could possibly go wrong?


I’ve seen and read enough science fiction to realise that this early into story when paradise is found, it won’t last for long. You don’t need Spidey sense to work that one out. Not with the heavy foreshadowing laid out in Nocterra #5’s now familiar opening flashback sequence. A sequence in which the young Val and Emory are reassured their parents will be fine and soon cured. Yeah, right.

So when we cut to the sparkly and idyllic looking haven that seems to offer up a light source not seen for some time now, it’s only a matter of how long this salvation will last before it is hopelessly shattered. 

But, before this we do get some hope. Having met the enigmatic Doctor Tiberius McCray – Bailey’s uncle – Val and her rag-tag team are brought in from the dark and given refuge. And a chance for Tiberius to bring Val – and the reader – up to speed with a good deal of engaging dialogue and explanation from Scott Snyder. We learn more about the deceased Augustus’ grand plans and the building of the base they find themselves in; a “prism”. A place of both lightness and inevitable darkness. The theme of contrast weighs heavy on this issue and, I dare say, the story moving forward. But then, the this focus on duality and dual nature has fuelled a great deal of horror over the decades, so Nocterra is in great company in exploring this in an original way.

Tony S Daniel’s ability to reflect both the sci-fi world of the Prism and the horrors revealed in the wider world outside continues to impress, with Tomeu Morey’s colours really bringing some much needed brightness to this issue. 

As we lunge towards the finale of this first story-arc, there is a far bigger picture of the danger emerging as Emory gets the chance to finally talk. And another contrasting thread to add into the mix, with Emory and Val at odds over what’s the best course of action to follow. 

What started off as a series I felt was too close in content and theme to Undiscovered Country has really taken a turn for the better with last issue’s change of course and this issue too. Wait till you get to the final page and I think you too will be won over. 

Nocterra #5 is out now from Image Comics

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