Writer: Scott Snyder / Artist: Tony S. Daniel / Image
It’s been a minute since we’ve covered Nocterra, but I would like to start out by saying that Snyder, Daniel, and Morey have been generating fantastic content during the gap of coverage and Nocterra #4 kicks off the back half of the first arc, I just wanted to get back into the habit of lauding the work done here.
Nocterra #2 and #3 have settled into a particular type of expositional paradigm. Snyder gives a little bit of insight into the first days of the Big PM before settling back into Val’s cross-country trip with cohort as the enigmatic Blacktop Bill continues to give chase. Nocterra #4 continues to follow suit, and it’s a simple, yet effective way to convey information. So much of Val’s current motivation is anchored on her past and this oscillating, predictable structure makes it easy to process, which makes the fast-paced reveals that come up along the way that much more enjoyable.
And this is helped by two major factors. The first is that Snyder is very utilitarian with his use of language, able to repurpose the familiar and engineer it into something innovative and new while still maintaining a great deal of accessibility. The second is that Daniel and Morey know exactly how to make pages pop. The level of the detail in some of the panels is mind boggling as is the incredible use of negative space in others. Nocterra #4, and the series overall, thrive on this careful construction and balance.
Nocterra is one of the rare comics where the large prose-y blocks of text don’t distract me as much, because Snyder leverages them as bookends and keeps the bulk of the dialog dense and poignant. And the lettering from Andworld Design carefully places these red blocks meticulously to keep a very natural flow that lets the art sing.
All in all, Nocterra continues to trek along as this solid piece of speculative fiction. It’s an enthralling book that utilizes all of the tricks and tools in the creators’ kit to make something truly stellar and one that’s more than worth the price of admission for a truly wild ride.
9.2 “Outposts and Hubs” out of 10