REVIEW: ‘The Empty Man,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Empty Man #5 is a horror comic published by BOOM! Studios and written by Cullen Bunn, with art by Jesús Hervás, colors by Niko Guardia, and letters by Ed Dukeshire. Previously, the Kerry family and the federal officers escaped the Whisper Oracles attack and killed one of their assailants. However, the Oracles treat the death as a sacrifice in the name of the Empty Man and continue their mission to protect Melissa despite the Kerry families desire to run as far away from them as possible. Now with Agent Jensen’s secret exposed and the strange creature teased in the last issue out for the world to see new threats begin to emerge as the Empty Man’s message is broadcasted by media around the world.

This issue starts off with an origin story for the strange creature we saw in the last issue who is either connected to or part of the Empty Man. The brilliant panel work on these pages mirrors that of the last issue. This issue also focuses more on Agent Jensen’s deteriorating state. Melissa has been sick with the Empty Man virus for a while but now that both her and Agent Jensen have to share the dwindling supply of medication their conditions are worsening faster.

As Melissa and Agent Jensen get worse, the stakes are getting higher for our group. Additionally, the world is privy to the dark creatures that are part of the Empty Man and because of it, the Wispher Oracles seem to be one step closer to their goal. The violent disease and media frenzy around the pandemic is oddly parallel to events in our own history. Previously, I mentioned the Ebola crisis which Western media in particular and American media covered heavily. The political themes throughout the comic are coated in subtly but powerful enough to be heard.

Cullen’s work as always is unnerving in the best way. The pacing in particular of this issue moved at a record speed, amping up the tension as the stakes begin to increase. The world is getting more violent and time is running out, yet it seems no one is closer to an answer or cure.

Hervás’ art and panel design as I mentioned above are well thought out. Heavy, deliberate strokes give the pages their darker tone. Guardia’s color palette relies heavily on deep purples and reds that accent a lot of the gorier portions of the Hervás’ exceptionally well, particularly the creature that looks like a spider made up of clotted blood. It’s disgusting, which makes it perfect.

The Empty Man #5 is a disturbing piece of fiction that should the textbook example for horror comics. It delves into deeper issues and pushes boundaries all while keeping its solid pacing, narrative, and art. Overall, this remains my favorite comic on shelves and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The Empty Man #5 is available in comic book stores everywhere.

The Empty Man #5
5

TL;DR

The Empty Man #5 is a disturbing piece of fiction that should the textbook example for horror comics. It delves into deeper issues and pushes boundaries all while keeping its solid pacing, narrative, and art. Overall, this remains my favorite comic on shelves and I cannot recommend it highly enough.