What I love about this comic, “The Empty Man,” is how much it resembles a good fright from a nice lucid nightmare. I had a bad one just the other night. Apparently, there was this little elfin man in a sailor suit lying in a corner. I couldn’t figure out if he was dead or fast asleep. I tried to approach him but could not.
I walked around the darkened room to find the curtains all sloppy, hanging on the rod. No matter what I did, I could not grasp the curtain well enough to let any light in. Suddenly, there was a loud knocking at the front door. I tried to look through the peephole but could not make out the stranger. All I got was louder and louder thumping at the door. I gasped trying to say, “Go away!” Then I finally woke up. I don’t think that was particularly good fun, at least, not conventional good fun. What it did for me was provide quite an intense jolt, as you may imagine. And that is precisely the eerie feeling I got from this comic. Seriously.
“The Empty Man” is a great example of a new breed of horror comics. It’s on a slow burn, cerebral, quirky, and creepy. Creator and writer Cullen Bunn has raised the bar high with a multi-layered and multi-spooky tale. The art by Vanesa R. Del Rey is wonderfully smoky, hazy, and sketchy. Colors by Michael Garland juggle values as needed. And lettering by Ed Dukeshire helps to enhance the text with a nice tight regard. All in all, a another great offbeat thriller from Boom! Studios.
The first page clues you in that this is going to be one scary story. You see a group of people in a darkened room, so dark that you can barely make out any of their faces, most are just blotted out. On a stage is a lanky and tired figure. He is delivering a fire and brimstone sermon. His words are defiant. He asks his followers to ignore the fact they are in a grimy old former gas station. The page is set up four rectangular panels to one page. The second panel is sliced by a triangle that runs from both ends to create two smaller triangles on both bottom corners. This mimics the group’s three triangle religious emblem. Faith, Reverend Markoff goes on to say on another page, is bigger than the grandest cathedrals.
That opening scene sure sets the tone. Things only get darker, as we discover when we fast forward five years to the present. That same preacher has moved up from having a cable access show to reigning over a little network empire. But something, quite possibly connected to him, has also transpired. Something unspeakably wrong has happened. Some sort of macabre disease has been set loose but no one really knows but to fear it, lest they be possessed by it next. A task force has been set up that combines the CDC with the FBI. Agents Jensen and Langford would both rather not believe the urban myths, except they’re the ones with firsthand knowledge that all is not well.
“The Empty Man” is sure to please, if you like a good fright. Visit our friends at Boom! Studios for more details right here.