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Nocterra 3 Main

"Nocterra #3" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Image Comics


Written by Scott Snyder
Illustrated by Tony S. Daniel
Colored by Tomeu Morey
Lettered by AndWorld Design
2021, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 5th, 2021


Val will do anything to save her brother, Emory, even if that means going head-to-head with the mysterious Blacktop Bill. She took a job transporting an old man and his granddaughter because he might have a cure for the disease that turns people into horrific monsters called shades. That's what has gotten into Emory and it's a death sentence. It's no wonder Val is willing to go to such great lengths, as there are no other options available.

We're three issues into Nocterra and we're very much still in the world-building phase. Writer Scott Snyder has introduced the key characters and this world. This chapter further builds the mythos around it. While interesting, it feels like we're treading water a bit. I think this is because we're still at the beginning of this road trip. The cliffhanger, while somewhat predictable, does open the door to some exciting possibilities.

Click images to enlarge

There's a tangible feeling of despair that permeates through all of Nocterra. When the sun is blotted out of the sky and you can turn into a monster if left unlit for a few hours, that's understandable. It would be bad enough with just the world trying to kill them, but add in someone like Blacktop Bill and it's just insult to injury. He's a villain in the truest sense of the word.

Colorist Tomeu Morey strikes a great balance with the world of Nocterra. Darkness envelops everything, like predators waiting just outside your field of vision. To combat this, people use bright lights on their bodies and vehicles. It's literally a way to fight back the darkness. They create their own personal spotlights.

When it comes to Blacktop Bill, it's about what's not seen. He's basically a walking shadow. You don't see any details about his body or clothing. He's just a silhouette. The one exception is his eerie smile that cuts through the darkness. Letterer AndWorld Design uses black word balloons with white font to further differentiate the character from the pack.

Click image to enlarge

Artist Tony S. Daniel's pencils are full of incredible detail. Bill's pursuit of Val is very much a high-octane affair, full of great twists and turns. The pacing here is great, the equivalent of quick cuts in a movie. The difference here is that we can take the time to see each individual image and really soak it in. This translates to the quieter scenes too. The aforementioned cliffhanger steadily builds tension until the big reveal in the final panel that hits with a bang.

Nocterra is a blockbuster action movie set in a horror world. It's like watching The Fast & The Furious if Dom's crew was made of literal monsters, scaring the crap out of people a quarter mile at a time.


Story: threeandahalfstars Cover
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Art: fourstars
Overall: 3.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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