Royal Nonesuch reviews the conclusion to NOLA from Boom! Studios.
NOLA #4 (A)
NOLA #4 (B)
Written by Chris Gorak, Pierluigi Cothran
Drawn by Damian Couceiro
SC, 24 pgs, FC, (4 of 4), SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Erik Jones
COVER B: Chris Brunner
Diamond Code: DEC090743
Revenge will be hers! The stunning conclusion to this twisted post-Hurricane Katrina story that can’t be missed! Nola continues her bloody rampage through New Orleans as she puts a bullet in every problem she has in the city. From Chris Gorak (Right at Your Door) and scripted by Heroes graphic novel writer Pierluigi Cothran!
As Nola Thomas continues her quest for vengeance in Katrina-torn New Orleans, she happens to come across the truth about the father she never knew, and how it relates to events in her life currently.
What stands out the most about NOLA is just how easy things were for the title character. After her near-death in the first issue, she seems to suddenly possess the skills of a commando. It doesn't really track that she is so adapt at stealth, firearms, and hand-to-hand combat. Perhaps there was some military training in Nola's background, but such backstory is never even hinted at. In any case, she's able to do everything she needs to do, figure out everything she's looking for, and there is no conflict she can't fight her way out of. She's probably the most idealized lead character in any comic right now. In fact, the backstory about Nola's father seems shoehorned in just as an excuse for her to go kill more people than she would have otherwise.
On the subject of killing, Nola is rather cavalier about it. She simply waves it off by noting the fact that everyone she killed had it coming for their role in her own attempted murder (and the murder of her father) but does that include the innocent security guard she murdered in issue #3? The fact is, having an unlikeable protagonist is fine, but at least have some stakes for her. She simply kills, has no trouble doing much of anything, and all ends happily. It isn't all that interesting if your protagonist can sleepwalk through her mission. Even the twist near the end is pretty half-cooked.
The artwork really is the strength of the story in NOLA. Though the burns on NOLA's body amount basically to a bunch of squiggly lines all over her, the figure work is as strong as it ever was, and the sense of space and perspective have gotten better over the course of the series (not that they were bad earlier on). The colors reflect the muddy morality of the tale in an interesting way.
Overall, NOLA is a story that started off with a lot of interesting potential to become a badass revenge tale, but ultimately amounts to nothing more than a mildly entertaining diversion that won't really stick with you.
5.5 of 10