Review: “The Empty Man” #2

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Across the nation people are killing themselves in horribly creative ways for especially disturbing reasons.  Detectives Langford and Jensen investigate these strange suicides in an attempt to unravel the mystery popularly known as “The Empty Man Virus”.  In “The Empty Man” #2, Jensen and Langford are finally confronted with one of the horrors that haunt the victims of The Empty Man.  More players are introduced, and more mysterious are revealed.  Trying to put all the pieces together is the real fun of this meticulously plotted horror mini-series, but for the faint of heart, its going to be a bumping ride.

Empty_Man_002_COVER-AWRITTEN BY: Cullen Bunn

ART BY: Vanesa R. Del Rey

PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios

PRICE: $3.99

RELEASE: July 9, 2014

Reviewed by Epic Switzer

If the creators of “True Detective” on HBO had written the show on acid, they might have come up with something like “The Empty Man”.  I’ve written a lot on the horror-noir genre recently, and this book is among the best of the best.  It’s really quite impressive that Bunn manages to fill each issue with so many different things.

There is the central mystery of The Empty Man Virus, there’s the concept of psychic disposition or “extrasensory potential” as a scientific study, there at least two religious cults at play, and a host of complex characters with their own agendas and secrets.  Its hard to believe in just four more issues all will be said and done, but I have the feeling its going to be extremely satisfying.

Premise is the hook, but character is the heart, and Bunn is building them out with expert pacing.  As the plot progresses we learn just enough about what the characters are hiding to keep us intrigued.  It doesn’t hurt that Del Rey’s characters emote genuinely without mugging, and are represented uniquely yet familiar. Speaking of the art, the panel work is subtle yet effective, which is something I always appreciate.  Like film editing, layout is often best when it is invisible.

By way of critique, I was a little confused at the way Langford reacted to the spider monster.  I realize he deals with gruesome death and wanton violence on an almost daily basis, but having never actually seen anything supernatural before, he was suprising casual about the encounter.  There were a couple of panels during the fight in which it was difficult to figure out what I looking at at first, but all of this is nitpicky stuff because the bottom line is I really love this book.

It is exactly the kind of mind-fuck horror I’m interested in reading and its being done perfectly.  This is going to end up being a gorgeous trade when its finished, so if for some reason you can’t snag issue one today, don’t forget to pick up the collection.  “The Empty Man” just got moved to the top of my stack.

Epic Switzer AKA Eric is an aspiring filmmaker and screenplay writer living in Los Angeles.  His work tends to focus on the lighter side of entropy, dystopic futures, and man’s innate struggle with his own mortality.  He can be found on twitter @epicswitzer or reached via email at ericswitzerfilm@gmail.com

 

 

Official Score