‘Nocterra’ #10 is an issue that moves the characters into place and sets up them up for a rather violent looking finale. An issue that gives Blacktop Bill all the best lines as Scott Snyder dares you to like him. And, for me at least, it’s working. An entertaining and tantalising issue whetting the appetite for next issue’s grand finale.
With the latest issue of Scott Snyder and Tony S. Daniel’s Nocterra the Sundog Convoy enter the dragon’s lair. Or rather this story-arc’s lair, Luna, the base where the nocturnes, like Blacktop Bill, are made. And, with the gang deftly breaking into the enemy’s base of operation we get the requisite rising action ahead of the concluding part to this particular chapter. It’s an issue that shifts the pieces across the board to get to a satisfying concluding that promises big things next issue, which is what a comic book sometimes has to do.
Beyond the structural we have Bill, once again given all the best lines, as Snyder slowly, effectively makes the reader root for this bastard of a human being. The jury’s still out whether this will be a transformative journey Bill is going on or something more Machiavellian. But, Snyder certainly knows how to manipulate the reader. This has been as much Bill’s storyline as it has our narrator, Piper. I wonder whether we are leading to a story-arc in which we will get Bill as our unreliable narrator? I do hope so.
Art wise, while the majority of this issue is of a quality one has come to expect from Daniel, in places it seems unfinished. Particularly an early double page spread that seems to have been printed directly from a sketch rather than the polished inks we’ve come to expect. However, on the whole, Daniels continues to dazzle with his keen eye for laying out even the more mundane scenes of Val and company standing around contemplating their next move, or even the villains of the piece wallowing in their own evil. Like I said, this is an issue that needs to move characters into place and so with that often comes a good deal of dialogue. But, there’s certainly enough to enjoy in terns of both the dialogue and the bursts of action that occur throughout the issue.
The inclusion of Marcelo Maiolo as colourist has paid dividends. And on this issue his choice of colours really makes the art glow in places. Especially given this is a series set mostly in darkness. Although there is a good deal of bright light in this issue emanating from Luna.
An enjoyable enough issue that serves its function as part of the larger story-arc structure and one that gives the reader further opportunities to get to know Bill that little bit more.
Nocterra #10 is out now from Image Comics