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The Empty Man #1

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By Cullen Bunn, Vanesa R. Del Rey & Michael Garland

The Empty Man disease is spreading nationwide and so are religious cults. To stop the spread of the disease and mass hysteria the FBI and CDC have created a joint task force. As the body count rises more questions than answers come up…

Right from the cover, it looks like this will be an unnerving, eerie book and the contents do not disappoint! Vanesa Del Rey and Cullen Bunn take the reader through the symptoms and events of the Empty Man disease. A woman discovers her husband self-mutilating himself in the shower; almost flipping the actions in the infamous Psycho shower scene on its head. The half panel reveal of the man is disturbing. With Michael Garland’s use of red against the muted colors of the steam and bathroom tile, the image just pops out forces the reader to take in all the horror…good stuff!

Some images are hard to make out, which can be frustrating, but it actually forces the audience to pay closer attention and continue to read in hopes of gaining a better understanding. Intentional or not, it adds to the tone of the comic. The use of shadows and sketch-penciling makes Bunn’s material edgier and darker. Even the interrogation scene’s coloring takes into account the fluorescent light illumination, which just blew me away.

The story content in this issue mainly gave an overall view of the impact the disease has made on the populace and what it’s capable of. Even if this was a little monotonous at times, the concept and visuals kept the material riveting. The two investigators that are introduced are not specified as being either with the CDC or FBI, so some little details fall to the wayside, but hopefully as the plot progresses these elements will come to the forefront. The last page just leaves one in total confusion and begging to see what happens next. The Empty Man delivers, even with some confusing artwork, and horror and/or mystery comic fans will undoubtedly be intrigued and hooked by this book.

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