Royal Nonesuch takes a look at Nola #2 from Boom! Studios.
Written by Chris Gorak, Pierluigi Cothran
Drawn by Damian Couceiro
SC, 24 pgs, FC, (2 of 4), SRP: .99
COVER A: Erik Jones
COVER B: Chris Brunner
Diamond Code: OCT090791
She cheated death and now the hunt is on! Nola continues her quest for revenge in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans and finds herself in the destroyed city’s twisted web. From Chris Gorak (Right at Your Door) and scripted by Heroes comic writer Pierluigi Cothran!
The first issue of NOLA ended with the title character committing a violent act, from which she acknowldedged that there would be no coming back. True to that, the story continues with a singularity of vision that echoes Nola's quest for revenge.
The clever cross-cutting between past and present that marked NOLA #1 is once again utilized in the second issue of the story, but in different proportion. The bulk of the issue is spent on Nola, bandaged head to toe like a mummy, rediscovering New Orleans in the days after Katrina hit. It makes for a tragic, weighty mood piece that effectively transports the reader back to lamentations of that time and place.
The rest of the issue is spent on Nola's infiltration of the newly hurricane-ravaged city in order to get her revenge. At this point, the theme of being left for dead starts to make itself apparent. Nola herself is left for dead twice (once by Chevis Turner, in the incident that incites this story, and once by her doctor, when the hospital she is staying in needs to be evacuated on the day of Katrina's touchdown in New Orleans), but in the fallout of the storm, New Orleans itself had been all but abandoned. Indeed, just as blame was assigned as far and wide by anyone with an opinion for what happened to the city, Nola spreads plenty of blame around for what's happened to her. This subtle layering is what makes NOLA so compelling to read.
The artwork is still rather solid; in fact there are places that show a level of detail that wasn't seen as much in the first issue. The muted color palette is a real strength of the artwork as well. The scenes that take place in the flooded streets of New Orleans are the best of the issue, and Damian Couceiro renders them very well.
Two issues in, and Nola has been put through hell. And that's really what this story is about; what one person does to lash out when so much has been taken from her. Nola is not very sympathetic, but it's easy to understand how somebody could be so driven. Her circumstances are often harrowing, but never really implausible. The only weakness of the issue is an unfortunate twist ending that comes out of nowhere. Obviously, it can't be determined how it fits into the rest of the narrative, but that's what future issues are for.
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