Nocterra #3 Review

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist: Tony S. Daniel

Colorist: Tomeu Morey

Letters: Andworld Design

Cover Artist: Tony S. Daniel

Reviewer: StoryBabbler

Val Briggs aka Sundog, is a post-apocalyptic trucker just trying to survive in this literal dark world and keep her little brother Emory, or Em, alive. But after taking a job that sounds too good to be true, she finds herself hunted by the infamous Blacktop Bill, a pitch black silhouette of a man. In Nocterra #3, we see Blacktop Bill give chase to Val and her new fares.

If you’re interested in this comic, series, or any of the others mentioned, simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.


This comic really goes into high-gear as Val and company are chased by Blacktop Bill. The issue starts out with a short yet succinct flashback of not only the beginnings of Earth’s darkness, but the effect it has on Val and her family. Showing readers what this brand of darkness does to humans, and hinting at something worse behind it. It further cements this new post-apocalyptic world, how Val’s jaded perspective has kept her and Em alive, and planting the seeds for other plot developments.

From there, it transitions into the big chase. Last issue, Val got some big revelations from both Blacktop Bill and Augustus. The confrontation, brief as it was, ended with the beginnings of a chase, and now we’re seeing that play out here. Once again, Tony S. Daniels and Tomeu Morey pull off great work here. Especially as we see Val’s truck ram through things trying to get away from Blacktop Bill’s sleek and fast car.

The chase in this scene isn’t too crazy or overly long, and the heart of this fight is Blacktop Bill as he taunts, jeers, and jabs at Val and her truck. The chase is very creative as Scott Snyder uses this comic world to turn mundane or fun items into deadly weapons with a little tweaking. This is also where Blacktop Bill really stands out as a villain, displaying his tactical and sadistic nature as he uses both to try to literally trip up his quarry. He nearly succeeds but is forced off their trail, though to no small cost of the heroes.

Afterward, Val and the others are given a moment to rest up, in a very beautiful and cute location, while she figures out what their next move is going to be. It’s here where the comic shows the caring side of Val for her brother and Bailey, to a point. We also see Val’s cynical worldview directly challenged by Bailey, who grew up in a sunless world, yet still wants to make it brighter. It’s likely this dichotomy between the two will played up as the series progresses.

After the little confrontation, Val starts having her own doubts, thinking back to moments of her past and believing that maybe, just maybe, things could be better. But the ending, as well as the beginning flashback, shows that perhaps she should be listening to her instincts and prepare for the worst.


In the comic, Scott Snyder manages to do some small bits of world-building in the flashback and the present. In the present, he does this through Blacktop Bill and Augustus, after the smiling shadow man captures the old scientist with his car’s grappling hook. They only get one page, but it further builds the mystery of the past these two shared without being too long or feeling like wasted exposition. Ultimately, it shows that there’s more to Augustus, Blacktop Bill, and the world of Nocterra than we’ve been led to believe, and we’ll likely get more in the next issue.

Final Thoughts:

Nocterra #3 pits the main heroes and villain against each other in a good old-fashioned chase. The art and colors from Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey continue to be excellent here and provide some stellar and surprisingly colorful visuals during this post-apocalyptic chase. Scott Snyder manages to give all of the main characters their time in the spotlight as they make their way to their destination.


Leave a Reply