A fast-paced thriller, “The Empty Man” #1 leaves you with an unsettling presence in your mind after you’ve finished reading. This is a twisted police procedural that puts society’s fears under a microscope. I really want to see where “The Empty Man” series goes after its shocking plot twist.
ART BY: Vanesa R. Del Rey
PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
RELEASE: June 11, 2013
Reviewed by Jorge Solis
A message of hope and belief becomes a sneaky brainwashing scheme by a swindling cult leader. Reverend Markoff promises to heal you, the sinner, if you join his special congregation. His sermons have lead to mass suicides and a rising number of serial killings. Though it would be easier just to incarcerate Markoff, somehow “The Empty Man” disease has been spreading on its own. Two special agents, Jensen and Langford, are about to discover a shocking clue that may change everything about their case.
Interestingly, writer Cullen Bunn takes an in-depth look at how society becomes brainwashed by cult leaders. I had to read the opening pages twice because Bunn examines the media’s fascination with cults in different perspectives. These cult leaders are preying on the emotionally wrecked and weak-minded. Those fanatical types don’t really care about the members of their congregation; they’re just using them. But for someone who has just lost hope, they’ll do anything to get it back somehow.
Right off the bat, Bunn delivers some witty banter between special agents Langford and Jensen. Their relationship isn’t really romantic, but their bond does go beyond a loyal sense of duty. I really like how Bunn steers their conversation from being personal to being about work all of a sudden. What I also enjoyed is that these protagonists are two smart cops, who are definitely good at their jobs.
Artist Vanesa R. Del Rey captures a moody atmosphere that usually comes with gritty police procedurals. Agent Langford has this Clark Gable look to him, especially with his mustache and slick hairstyle. Agent Jensen’s character design also harkens back to an actress from a different time period. Because of her combed-back hairstyle and classy wardrobe, Jensen resembles closely to Dorothy Dandridge’s early film work.
Del Rey places the camera in interesting spots during interrogation scenes. The shots are always taken from a high angle, as if looking down on everyone. Del Rey also makes sure the space is wide enough to fit in both agents. Like in every police drama, there is a mandatory chase sequence, but this one comes with a few surprises.
An awesome introductory issue, “The Empty Man” #1 has a lot of potential going for it with the story’s mix of cults, serial killers, and police procedural. I really want to see what happens the second issue.