Cullen Bunn has quickly become a very busy writer. If you are not familiar with his recent work on Magneto and Sinestro, arguably the Big Two's most interesting villains, Bunn is a very talented writer. The Empty Man is a complete divergence from his Big Two work, but coupled with the art of Vanesa R. Del Rey, we have a very intriguing horror detective story.
This is a very creepy comic. The creative team is matched perfectly to create this suspenseful outing with creepy characters and some terribly grotesque visuals. There is a scene in here that is very reminiscent of Psycho and the reveal in the shower remained with me for awhile after I had finally put it down. The creative team does a really good job of creating a very haunting atmosphere and that is typically something that is very hard to do.
The story is quick to get to the conflict. Although this is a first issue, the creative team is very efficient in getting any back story out in the open and they do so interestingly. There are not any long-winded scenes of just pure exposition, we get very natural dialogue from our main characters to catch us up and the story progresses towards the end at breakneck speed.
I had seen Del Rey's art for the first time in the Boom! Studios series, Hit, and her issue of Zero that she did was fantastic. To further the horror tone, she and colorist Michael Garland use pretty dull colors and some heavy black lines to make an almost rough look to every panel. The gruesome panels showcase this a bit more and it is truly effective. When you see what this disease...plague...I'm not sure what to call it...but when you see the images of what The Empty Man does...you're in for a very horrific surprise.
I really like where the story is heading and almost everything works perfectly. This comic is very similar to how I would imagine if True Detective got the comic-adaptation treatment and that is a very good thing. When I read this issue, Bunn and the rest of the team do a good job of world building but they are not too revealing and most importantly they don't treat the reader like an idiot. Nothing is ever truly spelled out for you. The horror aspect of this title is something that is done really well. A lot of horror-books do not really resonate with me but judging from the first issue of The Empty Man, this may be a whole different experience.
I highly recommend this to fans of mystery and suspense. With Fatale coming to a close soon, readers who are into horror-noir will be pleased to see that there is a very different and very apt replacement to the void. With a wonderful cliffhanger at the end of issue #1, I can't wait for the next issue to come out so I can scare myself once again and sleep with the lights on. Go get this book!
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About the Author - Bryant Thomas
Bryant Thomas is far too over attached to his dog, Dexter. He talks to him. Confesses to him. But most of all, he reads comics to him. When Bryant isn't working for the energy industry, helping companies figure out what to buy to make them profitable, he reaches for a new trade or drools over all of the insane JH Williams art in Batwoman's early issues. Growing up in Texas has given Bryant a very complex palate to BBQ Sauces, ranch dressing, and the occasional whiskey. His free-time is filled with panels and panels, and even more panels as he writes reviews for the wonderful institution that is, The Outhouse.
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