Review: THE EMPTY MAN #1


Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Vanesa R. Del Rey
Published by BOOM! Studios
Release Date: June 11, 2014

Cullen Bunn made a new horror book! It’s called The Empty Man and it’s here for you to enjoy. It features great art by Vanesa R. Del Rey, who did a fantastic issue of Ales Kot’s Zero recently. The Empty Man is definitely a slow burn so far, but it has a fantastic premise that I’m sure will lead to some messed up stuff.

BOOM! Studios has been on a roll publishing great books, like licensed properties Adventure Time and Regular Show, as well creator owned books like The Midas Flesh, Dead Letters, and Lumberjanes, all of which feature fresh exciting creators crafting great stories. The Empty Man is no different. Cullen Bunn is a guy who I have recently been reading a lot of and enjoying. He has been out there grinding on books like The Sixth Gun, which has been great throughout, but it seems he is finally getting lots of opportunities to tell new stories. The Marvel book Magneto in particular is something that I greatly enjoy reading right now. So with this Cullen Bunn renaissance I was very excited to dive into The Empty Man, and my expectations were met. This is a great book, with the promise of more greatness to come.

“The Empty Man” is the name of a disease that seems to be turning perfectly normal people into rage filled, suicidal, catatonic empty husks. The protagonist is special agent Langford. He, along with his partner Jensen, are tasked with investigating both the disease and the criminal activity associated with it. And they’ve got no idea how the disease started. This issue follows Langford and Jensen as they walk through a house where an incident has recently taken place to try and figure out what happened. The parents were killed but their two children are missing.

Cullen Bunn does a nice job not showing the reader too much. We see all of these horrific things but only through the eyes of other people, people who are struggling to understand this disease like the readers are. Nobody really knows what’s up with the disease. He includes a really nice sequence where Langford and Jensen go door to door interviewing the neighbors asking if they have seen the missing children. Each response from the different neighbors gives the reader a rich tapestry of opinions about this empty man problem sweeping across America. It’s a clever way to inform the reader of this world.

This is a dark and moody book, and a lot of that credit goes to the art by Vanesa R. Del Rey. Dark shadows, lots of brush strokes, gestural actions, and explosions of gore go along way in creating a creepy book. Her rough yet elegant style is gorgeous to look at while it also terrifies. She certainly displays an eye for composition with an almost filmic quality to her work. When Langford and Jensen are first introduced, the camera moves in behind them as they prepare to enter the house. When they enter the house we follow them through it. It evoked memories of the film Se7en, as Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman walk through each grisly murder scene.

The Empty Man #1 should satisfy horror fans with its delightfully messed up premise. Cullen Bunn is a writer finally hitting his stride doing really solid work and he continues that here. Artist Vanesa R. Del Rey supplies the book with excellent creepy, yet elegant, art. I want to see more of what this book is and I’m very excited to see where it goes.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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