Writer: Shon C Bury
Artists: Allan Goldman, Ed Waysek (colors)
Publisher: Narwain Publishing
In regards to pure ambition, Nox is a title with a lot going for it. Shon C. Bury’s desire to create an entertaining comic book literally based on Joseph Campbell’s Hero Cycle is ambitious indeed, and he needs to be applauded for making the attempt. Unfortunately, the product that resulted from this idea is lacking in many ways, particularly in terms of readability. Bury can’t really decide what kind of comic book he wants to proceed with here, and this indecision creates inconsistencies throughout. I mean, is this comic primarily an adventure tale, a modern comedy, or some kind of satire of the traditional hero? Bury looks like he’s trying to combine all three, but this combination doesn’t yield an entertaining result. If you can’t tell, I’m trying to dance around my ultimate revealing comments about this issue because they are kind of blunt. Nevertheless, I’ll just come out and say it: Nox #1 was boring and uneven.
Let’s look at the ending for an example, shall we? Our "hero," Joey King, is a normal college student who becomes involved with some pretty common-looking demons and a she-he nun. After a violent run in with these particular beings, Joey, along with his obnoxious buddy Bobby, asks the masculine nun about what just happened. In typically cryptic mystic-person speak, the nun replies, “Not till you’re ready to take up the call.” In response, Bobby replies, “Color me confused.” What? Bury is trying so hard to come up with hip, unique dialogue throughout this issue that it totally distracts the reader from the story being told. “I’m Audi 5000!” Yech! This isn’t Spider-Man, where little fun quips only add to the mythology of a character that’s been around for almost 45 years (Bobby, you’re not quite there, bro!). Plus, Spider-Man is a likable character, not a chubby geek who spends his evenings annoying everybody in sight. By the end of the comic book, I felt weary from the forcefully injected, unfunny expressions that colored everything. Moving on, Joey replies to the nun’s comment, “We take up the call–and hope I don’t get evicted.” Say that again? This is a guy who was just wetting his pants in the face of demons (as made abundantly clear by annoying Bobby in the final line of the issue, one of the worst endings I have read in at least a year), and now he’s ready to take up an adventure in the name of “The Call.” Some prior element of this story needs to show that Joey is the kind of person to make this kind of decision. All I saw in this issue is that Joey is a self-absorbed, repressed, overly emotional hipster who would sooner drive away from demons in his Toyota Prius than go on an adventure involving them. Heck, his loudmouth buddy did more fighting than he did in this issue! Some hero! Hey, did I mention that Bobby really got on my nerves...
Unfortunately for the reader, the art is just as boring as the story itself. Allan Goldman and Ed Waysek provide nothing new, exciting, or unique here. Ths poses are standard, the faces are commonplace, and the use of panels as a pacing device is not very effective. I will say the voyeuristic spy-cam view was entertaining and the blurring effects used in certain places were effective, but these positives are not enough to keep the artwork afloat. If I flipped through this issue at my local comic shop, I wouldn’t pick it up, mainly because there is nothing that really flies out at you or catches your attention. Really, the only thing to say about Nox #1 is that there is nothing new or exciting within the covers. And, for an independent comic book series trying to make a name in a great big sea of comics, that is a very bad way to start.
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