This is the second of the three Oni Press Nocturnals trade paperback graphic novels, collecting the Nocturnals: The Dark Forever mini-series.
Note: This review features mild plot spoilers — read at your own risk.
The story picks up a year after the events of Nocturnals: Black Planet and most of the members of the Nocturnals have been on their own, pursuing various goals and quests around the world. They’ve all returned to Pacific City where dark events are unfolding. The dead are walking the streets, the Raccoon has become an enforcer for a local crime family, Doc Horror is wrapped up in exploring the strange, inhuman city he’s discovered buried deep under the Nocturnals’ home. The pyrokinetic Firelion and enigmatic Starfish have just rolled back into town, just in time to get involved in the mysteries and save the Nocturnals’ bacon. Halloween Girl also plays an enjoyable role in getting the problems resolved. I won’t reveal exactly what’s going on here as discovering that is half the fun. Suffice it to say, that in its long history, the underground city was home to two non-human races, one dead though still hanging around in ghostly form and the other very much alive and not terribly happy that humans are inhabiting their former coastal domain.
Characterization is very good, with the melancholic Starfish playing a particularly prominent role, plus it’s fun to see Halloween Girl in action, as always. It’s also a very good mix of Lovecraftian horror and pulp action, as with the best of the Nocturnals stories. Sure, there are a few elements that aren’t clearly brought together – why exactly are the dead walking the streets? – but it’s a great story, well-told and with terrific art, so if you enjoyed Nocturnals: Black Planet, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Review copyright 2010 J. Andrew Byers