Issue: NOLA #3
Release Date: January 20, 2010
Creator & Story: Chris Gorak
Script: Pierluigi Cothran
Artist: Damian Couceiro
Colors: Juan Manuel Tumburús
Letterer: Johnny Lowe
Cover A: Erik Jones
Cover B: Chris Brunner (Colors: Rico Renzi)
Editor: Bryce Carlson
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
“The path I chose to go down is lined with secrets from the past.”
– Nola Thomas, NOLA #3
Nola Thomas is still looking for answers. She knows who tried to kill her and who is responsible for the patches of scarred skin across her body. She knows why the police — and nearly everyone else — think she’s dead. But there’s still a lot that Nola doesn’t know, including what her mysterious father has to do with the attempt on her life and where her ex-boyfriend, Chevis, is hiding.
In the third installment of BOOM! Studios’s comic book series NOLA, protagonist Nola Thomas continues her search for revenge, learning more about the failed attempt on her life and the identity of her father, Alden Case, along the way. For those readers familiar with the first two issues of the series, NOLA #3 offers more of the same: a drawn-out storyline, frequent flashbacks, and the traditional revenge story. The idea behind Chris Gorak’s series isn’t a bad one: a young woman involved with a married man gets more than she bargained for, nearly winds up dead, and then sets out for revenge. Throw in a backdrop of post-Katrina New Orleans, a mysterious and absent father figure, and some ass-kicking, and NOLA is a recipe for quick, entertaining reading.
Unfortunately, the series doesn’t live up to its potential. Although it supplies readers with the elements necessary to create a compelling four-part comic series — protagonist, antagonist, struggle, and revenge — the third issue perpetuates the feeling that something is missing. NOLA‘s characters feel hollow and two-dimensional, and the frequent use of temporal shifts makes it difficult for the reader to feel grounded in the story. Overall, the series feels dislocated; while we know that the action is taking place in New Orleans, something about the way the landscape of the city is constructed within the pages of this comic book emphasizes the fictional nature of Nola Thomas’s story.
Whether NOLA would be better received if the series were located in a different city, or even if it took place during a different moment in New Orleans’s history, is uncertain. Perhaps the problem lies in the series’s flashbacks alone; it’s difficult to root for Nola as she shoots and kicks her way through the city given what we do know about her past. Before the hurricane, Nola Thomas was involved romantically with a married man. The brief glimpses of Nola’s past make her seem vapid and shallow, and even after her ex-boyfriend tries to kill her and her doctor leaves her for dead in the local hospital, there’s still very little to connect readers with the series’ main character.
I had hope that the NOLA series would pick up in the third issue, perhaps gearing up for a big finish in the fourth and final issue, but it appears that I had hoped in vain. If you’ve read the first two issues of NOLA and liked what you saw, then by all means check out NOLA #3. If you haven’t gotten into the series yet, then I leave the decision up to you.
Rating: 2.5 / 5 Stars