Nola #1 (of 4) (Boom! – Gorak / Cothran / Couceiro)
After cheating death, Nola Thomas wakes up alone in a deserted New Orleans hospital. Bruised, broken, and badly burned, she emerges from the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina with one thing on her mind…revenge. From Chris Gorak, the writer/director of the critically-acclaimed film, Right at Your Door!
I went into this book with zero background, had no idea what it was about – only that it was set right after hurricane Katrina and it had a twin-gunned, face-covered female character on the cover. I had barely heard of the author Pierluigi Cothran (Heroes Graphic Novel) and hadn’t heard of the artist Damian Couceiro – and after reading Nola, I am sure you will be hearing their names a great deal more in the year to come. The intensity and intrigue of this book caught me entirely off guard.
We follow a young, well to do African-American woman, Nola, who is trying to care of her ailing mother but is making some pretty self-destructive choices (dating a rich married man who’s father-in-law is a New Orleans power broker). Her life comes to climatic shatter-point as Katrina hits, her personal life and home are turned upside down and everything she had or wanted is ripped from her.
Cothran tells the story expertly through a series of flashback juxtaposed with Nola’s current situation of trying to get back into a flooded and quarantined New Orleans for some unknown personal mission. There are some obvious gaps in what has happened to her, given this is the first issue – but I cannot wait to see how this fills out. It has been a while since a story gripped me in the blindsiding way that Nola did. Couceiro’s soft-lined yet defined art does nothing but add to already excellent story-telling.
This comes out next from Boom! and odds are there is plenty of mainstream junk you could drop on your pull list to make room for an exemplary indie book like Nola.
Issue grade: A