REVIEW: ‘The Empty Man,’ Issue #3

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Empty Man #3 - But Why Tho?

The Empty Man #3 is horror comic published by BOOM! Studios and by the creative team made up of writer Cullen Bunn (Bone ParishHarrow County), artist Jesús Hervás (Lucas Stand, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser), colorist Niko Guardia, and letterer Ed Dukeshire. Previously, The Whisper Oracles, a mysterious cult centered around the Empty Man pandemic, came to the Kerry family’s home seeking to “rescue” an infected Melissa. In the midst of their spectacle, the FBI arrive at Kerry’s house first after speaking to Vicki about her mother. However, this agent is not who everything she appears to be and is hiding a deep secret that Melissa uncovers almost immediately.

This issue brings forth more questions about what causes people to become infected with the Empty Man virus. The Whisper Oracles believe it is not a virus but a calling. They believe the Empty Man has sent them to kill, even those who are not infected and see those quarantining his followers as non-believers. It becomes clear that the government isn’t being truthful and the Whisper Oracles might be a bigger threat than even the FBI can handle.

The Empty Man virus unlike other viruses in post-apocalyptic fiction does not render its victims in a zombie-like state. Melissa Kerry is coherent, though clearly delusional and experiencing intense and violent symptoms of a psychological breakdown. The introduction of the Whisper Oracles ideals as a fringe religious group was expertly crafted by Bunn. The Whisper Oracles’ design reminds me of The Purge but features far more fleshed out villains.

In the past two issues and in my previous review, I have seen and commented on a lot of parallels from this world and our in how we have and currently treat disabled people. Religion and the need to cure or understand disability often go hand in hand. It is an interesting concept to see the illness be revered even if it is by a group of homicidal religious zealots. Either way, the person with the Empty Man disease is no longer seen as human. To the government these individuals are quarantined like animals and to the Whisper Oracles, they are godlike creatures blessed by some mysterious figure.

Additionally, Hervás’ art with Guardia’s colors creates a series of eery scenes that appear to be splashed with a film of murky grime and blood. The comic feels dirty in the best way. Horror comics, like the horror genre in general, serve as an excellent place to focus on uncomfortable themes. The gore of this book is never so overwhelming that it takes away from the story but instead offers just enough of an unnerving element to compliment it.

I continue to greatly enjoy this series so much that last week I purchased Bunn’s original run. BOOM! Studios have a solid winner on their hands with The Empty Man. If you are a fan of horror comics or horror, in general, this is a must-read.

The Empty Man #3 is available in comic book stores and online retailers now.


The Empty Man #3
5

TL;DR

The comic feels dirty in the best way. Horror comics, like the horror genre in general, serve as an excellent place to focus on uncomfortable themes. The gore of this book is never so overwhelming that it takes away from the story but instead offers just enough of an unnerving element to compliment it.