Review: Noctua #1
Many books these days wear their influences on their sleeves. There is nothing wrong with that, but the series need to show that it can be it’s own thing. Notcua #1 certainly shows it’s influences, but needs to work on being it’s own book in the future.
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The story is a by the books crime story. There are bad guys in this city, and only one person can stop them. Well, we have Batman right there. Also, the owl flying towards the enemies can’t be anything but Batman. These bad guys are vampires, but like to be called transhuman instead of vampires. True Blood makes an appearance. The hero, called Noctua, is a damaged soul who lost everything to these vampires. That stereotype is old as time itself, but we’ll use Ten Grand as that was the latest thing to use it recently. Again, there isn’t anything wrong with wearing your influences on your sleeves, but you need to do something more with them. #1 does the good thing and setting up everything nicely for future issues. You have your cast of characters, plot threads that will boil up over time, and a general purpose for the book. That’s more than some books by Marvel and DC can say.
Many talent scouts for the big two publishers love comic strip writers. They know how to say a lot of things in a short amount of words. Andrew M. Anderson writes an ok script, but it gets a little wordy at some points. This isn’t helped by the terrible lettering by David Paul. While the script is long, thus making it harder to maneuver the bubbles around the panel, it’s down right difficult to figure out where the conversation is heading on some pages. The script drifts towards cliched at points, with the two cops soaking up most of it. The racist parts against vampires was an interesting trend, and while it’s similar to True Blood, it adds a pinch of X-Men like dialogue to make it work. It caps off the episode with hope for future issues.
Before I go on, the free copy of Noctua #1 was a low-resolution copy, so some of these problems could be part of that. The artwork goes from great to confusing. It’s down and dirty, which the story needs, but it’s hard to tell. Some of the facial movements are weird looking, and borderline ugly. The vampires don’t add anything new to the mythos look wise. There are a few points when Orlando Baez, the penciler, shows the movement of a character. A nice idea, and it can create an interesting look to a comic. But Baez doesn’t add the fluidity needed for this visual trick.
Noctua has some potential, and some will want to stick it out with the title. But with the number of titles I read each month ever growing, it would be hard to add this indie title to my pull list.
Noctua #1 gets 3/5.