A World Lit Only By Fire: Some Thoughts On Nocterra #1

I didn't expect I'd think about Nocterra #1 after I read it. Maybe it's because I'm accustomed to seeing Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey's work on DC titles that seeing them outside Gotham City induces some amount of whiplash. But here I am, still thinking about Nocterra #1.

A World Lit Only By Fire: Some Thoughts On Nocterra #1
Nocterra #1 Cover. Credit: Image Comics

Nocterra #1 is a solid first issue that does exactly what first issues are supposed to do. It introduces a world, demonstrates the stakes, introduces characters, connects the characters to the world, and gives the reader a juicy hook for the next issue. Writer Scott Snyder executes on all of these, which shouldn't surprise me, but it did. He did, after all, run the DC writing workshop at one point, and Nocterra #1 reads like what I imagine his notes on what a first issue should achieve.

Nocterra's world is dark. The sun basically went out, and now prolonged exposure to dark turns creatures and humans into monsters. While the disease can be resisted if caught early enough, it can't be cured. At least, not in the #1. Presumably, later it will be.

Humanity lives nervously inside lighted towns. (Tony S. Daniel and Tomey Morey do a great job in the splash page where the readers finally see a town, and I felt tangible relief with the change in color palate.) Inside Luxville, the word is uniformly bad. Travel between cities is dangerous and often conducted by brightly lit eighteen-wheelers.

(The last time I saw an eighteen-wheeler so prominently featured in a comic was Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker, so seeing them again brings a smile to my face.)

Readers of post-apocalyptic fiction will likely feel at home in Nocterra, and presumably, fans of The Walking Dead will too. If you need your fix of desperate people and desperate times, Nocterra #1 will serve you well. I don't know if I'm in for the long haul, but at least so far, I'm taking the ride.

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About James Hepplewhite

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