Review: Noctua #1

Vampires have become a dangerous genre for comics as of late. Aside from the franchise that shall not be named that has caused tween frenzy, it also saw a flood of creators wanting to show how it’s really done; how their take was better than all the others and if the other imitators would please sit down. Noctua doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but it does take an interesting approach as it infuses the revenge genre with the vampire genre to create something that was interesting at the very least.

The story starts off with some good old fashion human blood trafficking. The son of the leader of the vampire counsel is making some moves that his father wouldn’t approve of as he comes to pick up his merchandise of unspoiled virgins. The world knows about vampires, but in order to keep the peace they’re not supposed to drink human blood, so the human/blood trafficking is very illegal.

Not to worry though because Noctua crashes the party. He’s in the form of an owl as he swoops down on the Vamps and changes form. Noctua beings killing all of the Vampires in a brutal manner; he even rips the head off of the son that’s not supposed to be there. He doesn’t exactly free the girls, but he does release one in particular that his thoughts tell us, looks just like Alex. Clearly someone from his past, but it’s not explained to us in this first chapter. From there we’re introduced to some cops and one of them is a huge muscle head that suffers from roid-rage. We also meet the vampire counsel as the Father goes over why they don’t drink human blood.

I’m curious to see where the story goes, but I could have used more time with Noctua and less time with the Vampires. They don’t accomplish anything that important other than establish that he world is aware of them and that they’re struggling for their freedom, which could have waited until the next chapter honestly. I don’t know why Noctua took the one girl with him and the story doesn’t explain what happened to the others, but mentions that they may have been killed. That was definitely one scene that needed to be fleshed out more.

The writing isn’t bad, but the story felt condensed. With comics its okay not to introduce all of the major characters in the first issue and that would definitely have helped this issue. Hopefully we’ll spend more time with Noctua in the second issue and less time with the other two groups that weren’t nearly as interesting. The dialog was good, but there was times that it was over-the-top and stood out from the rest of the scene.

The art is interesting. There are times when it’s very good and detailed and others that it comes across very generic. All of the women in the cages look the same and were conveniently wearing the same nightie which meant that none of them stood out from one another. As long as there was some distance to the action it wasn’t too bad, but some of the close up scenes of the hand to hand combat was confusing. Roid-rage cop was hilarious to me, but I don’t think I was supposed to laugh at his facial features as much as I did.

I like the idea of a revenge story mixed with vampires. For now, both subgenres are playing it close to the chest and not venturing away from the tried and true formulas, but I’d be curious to see where the story goes from here. It would be nice to have some of Noctua’s backstory sprinkled in each issue to make him more likeable to the reader, but maybe that will be covered in the second issue. Overall, I liked it.

Score: 3/5

Writer/Creator: Andrew M. Henderson

Artist: Orlando Baez

Publisher: Alterna Comics

Price: $1.99

Release Date: 5/8/13