As the story of Val Riggs continues, her ability to overcome obstacles similarly continues. While stopping in the Neon Grove, Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel, and Tomeu bring a new layer of depth and intensity to the story.
Things are not looking good for Val. Her brother Emory is getting worse, and traveling in a semi-truck with passengers is no easy business. But maybe, just maybe, this is the dark before the light. Hopefully. But probably not.
About 245 miles later, Val reaches the Neon Grove, which gives Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey the perfect opportunity to show his masterful art style. The Grove is nothing short of beautiful, to begin with, but with Daniel and Morey together, it looks even more beautiful. The colors pop so much in contrast to the darkness of the world consuming everyone and everything. Additionally, the attention to detail across the Neon Grove spread only further shows how much effort was put into the page.
As the story progresses, we come to realize it doesn’t take a sudden realization for Val to be suspicious of Augustus. She can sniff out a liar like nobody’s business, and Augustus is lying. By this point of the story, we find out Blacktop Bill not only wiped out everyone else, but he’s right around the corner waiting. Val has a choice: give up Augustus and Bailey or hit the nitro and get the heck out of town.
The focal point of the story seems to trust. Things haven’t gone well for Val so far in her life. And now the world has gone to hell. Opening herself up hasn’t come easy, much less to strangers. It seems as the story progresses, so will Val’s openness with those around her. Part of what makes this such a compelling storytelling technique is because of how the story parallels the current world situation. Aren’t we all a little less trusting lately? Crossing the street when someone coughs, eyeballing whether someone properly has their mask on, not wanting to walk too close to people in the store. Part of what makes Nocterra so compelling is how easy it is to relate with Val.
Overall, Nocterra 2 is a strong second issue in the series. The character building for Val and Augustus helps carry the story through the heavy dialogue. Additionally, the art team of Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey brings the story to life and helps the characters pop from the dark world around them.
Writing review: 8/5
Art review: 4/5
Overall review: 8/10