‘Nocterra #1’ Review: More Exciting Work from Scott Snyder

Writer: Scott Snyder / Artist: Tony S. Daniel / Image

I say this without exaggeration, but I think Scott Snyder is one of the best speculative fiction writers in modern times. The range he has consistently been able to show with his superhero, horror, and science fiction is nothing short of masterful. And crucially, Snyder is an artisan when it comes to blending these genres together which I am delighted to say is a trend that continues with his latest venture, Nocterra.

Right off the jump, the first page of Nocterra follows the path of many post-apocalyptic series before it. Ominous narration using terms that are familiar but in a disconcerting context. The slow, unsteady changes in the environment signaling an imminent disaster. The sudden pull to the present where our main character has forcefully adapted to the harsh world and is doing everything they can to survive. It’s all very classical in its approach, but Snyder’s writing has such a lyrical and cyclical property to it. The way he slowly unravels the mystery the world is just delightful, especially when it conjunction with how he intertwines the principle character’s own experiences.

Val Rigs (Call sign: Sundog) is a transporter in a world consumed by an unspecified darkness. Ten years ago, the Big PM happened and the sun was blotted out and in the darkness, new monsters emerged and evolved to the point where society lives in pockets, and Val’s just trying to do right by her adoptive brother. And as we learn more about Val, we learn why she is uniquely predisposed to surviving in this cruel, world and it’s just all very entrancing.

This is of course bolstered by the incredible work from Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey. Daniel has crafted striking character, setting, and monster designs that are so much fun to watch interact with one another and Morey’s colors perfectly capture this bleak world of eternal darkness. The action is intention, the way that light and dark intermingle with each other on the page is awe-inspiring, and the world that the creative team envisioned in their mind’s eyes is wonderfully realized between the words and the art.

Everyone involved is a true virtuoso, and this is one of the most exciting comics of 2021 thus far. It’s this brilliant synthesis of horror, science-fiction, post-apocalypse, and superhero-adjacent elements that make it an enthralling read and should be on the top of your pull lists if it isn’t already.

9.8 “Realistic Drawings” out of 10

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