By Cullen Bunn, Vanesa R. Del Rey & Michael Garland
To be perfectly honest, I have no idea where this title is going; and that’s a good thing. Cullen Bunn and Vanesa Del Rey continue to give insight into the history and origin of the empty man virus, but the more information that is presented the murkier the reader’s understanding becomes. The book picks up with the monstrous cliffhanger from the premiere issue where Monica and Walter face off against the creature in the interrogation room. This leads to cracks and concerns in their partnership…
Bunn seems to be trying to craft a very intricate and original concept in the empty man virus. Going through each page, the reader can easily become more engrossed and shocked the further they delve into the comic. What is worrisome is that the concept may be too out there for the type of story genre the book seems to be going for. The Empty Man appears to be a hard-boiled, grounded investigative thriller, reminiscent of something along the lines of Seven. The creative team seem to be hitting the mark tonally, but by showing how different each documented case of the virus is the story loses some of its realism. Most viruses don’t have that much variation. The flip side of this is that this is only the second issue, so perhaps more common symptoms will be revealed and totally make this point moot. That seems to be the only real concern with this truly eerie, captivating tale, so far.
The artwork matches the grittiness of the written material. Rey uses her rough, sketch-esque penciling to sell this unidealized world the empty man virus has taken hold of. What pops every time it appears in a panel is the blood. This is accomplished with the blend of Vanesa’s use of shadows and Michael Garland’s coloring in those particular images. Garland implements black and fluorescent green to sell the impact red has in this story. This is a title that looks like it won’t end well for anyone and the sequential art doesn’t give the reader a reason to think otherwise; a perfect meld of writing and imagery.
This is a book to stick with! It has a fairly gripping plot, from what little has been given. Rarely do we a see a dark investigative procedural comic that isn’t some homage, so for that fact alone, give The Empty Man a shot.