Scorned and left for dead by the man she thought she loved, Nola Thomas returns to the flooded city of New Orleans a different woman than she was prior to the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina. What sequence of events could change a beautiful woman looking for love to a scarred woman looking for revenge?
Writer/Filmamker Chris Gorak draws upon the insanity of post-Katrina New Orleans with his latest title from Boom Studios titled Nola. The first issue hits the stands on November 18th, but the Major Spoilers Crew was lucky enough to be given an advance copy.
On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico. The destruction that was wrought by the storm surges and the hurricane as it made itâ€™s way across the South where only a precursor to the tragic destruction that would occur in the lives of the people afterward. As the rest of the country watched a nightmare unfold before its very eyes, uncounted thousands lived it. Each person in the path of the storm had their own personal drama as they struggled to survive in a situation no one could see coming. The images of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, wiped clean as if by some giant eraser, and of the flooding of New Orleans stand today as a warning to those people who scoff at the power of nature.
Just weeks prior to Katrina, Nola Thomas is a young, beautiful African-American woman living in New Orleans with her mother. Her biggest concerns revolved around her family life and her love life. Itâ€™s hard to imagine that the woman we meet at the start of our story, clad with a scarf and head piece hiding her scarred face, is the same, vivacious woman that dons a sexy red dress for a clandestine meeting with her man. But, it seems that even prior to Katrina, life was difficult. Nolaâ€™s man, Chevis Turner, may be rich, but he married into his wealth, and his wife is still in the picture. As with most affairs where money is involved, things do not end well. By the end of the issue we see the beginnings of Nolaâ€™s transformation from carefree young woman into a driven soul haunted by her current situation.
Chris Gorakâ€™s past history includes the 2006 thriller Right At Your Door as the writer and Director, and support work on films ranging from Fight Club to Tank Girl to Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. He created the story and character of Nola, and passed the script duties on to Pierluigi Cothran. Cothran may be familiar to comic fans as one of the writers behind the Heroes graphic stories, as well as serving as a co-executive producer for the show. Together, he and Gorak team up to make a sharp, current story that feels as if it could happen to anyone. These are themes that we have seen before, but maybe not quite in this form. Nola Thomas is a girl that you might know, that makes the sequence of events all that much more powerful.
The art chores are handled expertly by Damian Couceiro. Couceiro may be familiar to followers of the Zuda competition as being one of the talents behind Interrogation Control Element and the AIT/Planet Lar book Full Moon Fever. His artwork, enhanced by the colors of Juan Manuel Tumburus, completely drew me into the story. His panels of the French Quarter and of what seems to be the Lower 9th Ward are great, you get the feeling that you could actually be there. Nola comes off one moment as sexy and desirable in some scenes, and in others she is a woman scorned, dangerous and not to be messed with.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this first issue. The cinematic styles of the creators bleed through to the page and you are given a story that grips you and makes you care about the characters. You care about Nola, her mother, and much of the rest of the supporting cast. Heck, I even found myself asking what happened to the cab driver, Mr. Jefferies. With the story taking place both before and after Katrina, you find yourself wondering what effect the storm had as much as the actions of the characters.
Nola is a story of how unforeseen events can have life changing consequences. In parallel with New Orleans, we watch Nola go from a beautiful woman with few cares to a dangerous one, much like what happened to the city itself. Even her name, Nola, could be broken down into New Orleans, LA. Her story is unique, but at the same time it is the story of the city. It may be an ugly story, but it is one you will enjoy. Iâ€™m giving this first issue of Nola 5 out of 5 stars.