Story: Scott Snyder and Tony S. Daniel
Pencils: Tony S. Daniel
Inks: Sandu Florea and Tony S. Daniel
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Andworld Design
Two months have passed since the events of Nocterra #6. Bailey, aka Piper, has taken over narration duties as the Sundog Convoy scours the dark wastes of North America in search of the last glimmer of light. Or, as the convoy puts it, to save the fucking world.
Scott Snyder presents Piper’s narration in a strikingly similar tone and cadence to Val. While a bit more variation could have helped the issue set itself apart as the start of a new chapter, one can’t help but wonder what influence Val’s strength and determination has had on Piper and how their relationship will develop moving forward.
Nocterra #7 updates the status quo to start the book’s second arc, Pedal to the Medal. We see a healthier than ever Emory skewering shades for dinner while hanging from a speeding rig. We also get introduced to three pairs of drivers and gunners. Though, the convoy’s numbers ebb and flow over the course of the issue.
After a lighthearted cold open, Nocterra delivers one of many spectacular visuals. Outpost 31, or the Drive-In, is a cathedral of drive-in movie screens constantly blasting classic films into the hungry darkness, keeping the monsters at bay with The Sound of Music, Jurassic Park, etc. Tony S. Daniel’s world designs are eye-popping, as are his monsters. But its Marcelo Maiolo’s colors that really bring a set piece like the Drive-In to life. The screens truly glow, and the surrounding dark reads as utterly depthless.
The Drive-In might be beautiful, but it holds only misery for our convoy. After picking up a young boy named Adam, Val and co. learn that the local shades appear to be evolving beyond humanity’s ability to protect themselves. This realization is exacerbated by the arrival of megas. It may surprise you, reader, to learn that megas are, indeed, very, very big monsters.
As someone who’s not huge into cars or post-apocalyptic wasteland settings, the chase scenes in Nocterra continue to thrill. That said, it remains to be seen how long Snyder and Daniel can keep the action fresh and when it starts to feel like the convoy is bouncing between aimless wandering and life-or-death chase sequences. For now, the world still feels fresh, with much to explore.
A romance between Piper and Adam seems likely, considering ages and the fact that Piper will likely be Adam’s guide to life with the convoy. For now though, the story has a very clear direction. We get a look at the convoy’s immediate objective when Blacktop Bill, in search of the mysterious Nox, easily evades and dismembers a trio of pursuers. In typical Blacktop fashion, he hacks them up and fastens them to his ride.
Val, Piper, and the rest of the convoy need to find Blacktop Bill to have any hope of bringing light back to the world. But Blacktop Bill brings nothing but death.
Nocterra is back and as slick and thrilling as ever. But the book's second arc will need to take the same care with character development as world building if Nocterra is to reach full potential.