The Empty Man #5
By Cullen Bunn, Vanesa R. Del Rey & Michael Garland
This deliciously unearthly title is down to its final two issues. The cover done by Vanesa R. Del Rey presents a gorgeous, but ominous image that immediately captures one’s attention and begs to be investigated. Agent Jensen and Langford close in the origin of the Empty Man disease and finally meet Reverend Markoff. The story is coming to a head, but the audience is still left in the dark…
Nightmarish creatures, unnerving, inexplicable deaths, and a crime procedural; all these elements are being implemented by Cullen Bunn to comment on religion and how it is capable of corruption. Even the panel layouts have the motif of triangles, which is symbolic of Markoff’s ministry. Also, pay close attention to the Reverend’s home, Del Rey incorporates the shape even more in that sequence. Bunn walks the tightrope very well by not hitting his audience on the head with the subtext, his focus is clearly on telling a haunting tale and he stays true to form.
In the spirit of maintaining the sense of unease, Michael Garland compliments Vanesa’s work by emphasizing the shadows throughout the book. Even in the most mundane panels such as a support group, Garland and Del Rey translate the eerie dialogue right onto the facial expressions of the characters and pitch-dark background. I absolutely love it!
Readers who are invested in the story so far have absolutely no reason to stop. Not only are there only two comics left, but this issue delivers in tone and content. I can’t wait to see how all this ends or maybe it will be so grim I’ll regret my enthusiasm…only time will tell.