Nocterra #1 Collector’s Edition by Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey (digital comicbook review).

Nocterra’ is a new Science Fiction comic book series from Image Comics, which brought you ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Spawn’ and ‘Kick-Ass’. At Image, the creators own the rights to their work and it’s now the third biggest comic book company in America.

The SF background to ‘Nocterra’ is the Big PM effect which happened about now. The world went dark. In the darkness, any living organism left unlit for ten hours undergoes the terrible transformation into a ‘Shade’, a monstrous version of itself. Birds, fish and insects become monsters. People, too. The first sign in humans is that their gums go black. In some way, not yet clear, dialysis can hold back the transformation.

The story begins thirteen years after the Big PM happened, and the Shades have developed, interbred and cross-pollinated to create new species, so you can’t even tell what a monster used to be. Particularly deadly are human shades that live in packs and have their own language.

The only real defence is artificial light. Big cities fell in the first few weeks of the Big PM effect but some small towns and villages survived by staying illuminated. These are called Outposts. Ferrymen transport people between Outposts in heavy well-lit trucks.

Our hero is a Ferryman called Val, actually a healthy young woman. In a brief prologue, we learn that she was blind until the age of four, so darkness is especially poignant for her. Post-Apocalyptic America is a rough, freebooting, disorganised place and the Ferrymen take on jobs as they come. Zero-hours contracts are here to stay. Val drives for a woman called Bellwether to support herself and her family. Her adoptive parents are gone, but her brother Emory survives.

This first issue shows Val doing her action-packed job, gives the reader her background and present circumstances and closes with a cool villain on her trail. Origin stories have a lot to pack in, but Scott Snyder skilfully introduces the basic setting and characters. The art by Tony S. Daniel is bold, striking and colourful and the series certainly promises exciting things to come. Worth a look.

Eamonn Murphy

March 2021

(pub: Image Comics, 2021. 37 page digital comicbook. File size : 41006kB. Price: $ 3.99 (US). ASIN: B08SJH72M9)

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Eamonn Murphy

Eamonn Murphy reviews books for sfcrowsnest and writes short stories for small press magazines. His works are available on Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited.

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