In the 5th of a 6 issue mini-series The Empty Man creator and writer Cullen Bunn sets an uncertain future. Agents Jensen and Langford have seen what they thought was a disease mutate into something they never imagined. It’s spreading more quickly, evolving, and there’s little time to act as two children has been taken leaving behind no trace. The clock is set against them – can they fight past their own limitations and save them?
Bunn, having worked with horror in the past with The Damned and The Sixth Gun from Omi Press just to name a few, understands the ambiance but doesn’t really nail down the flow of storytelling. He moves between current day, the 1970’s, a year past, etc. in both active conversations and voice overs from both agents on the center of his macabre tale. The changes are very sharp and are hard to follow, getting in the way of telling the story.
I feel that Bunn is also attempting to lay the mysterious veil of the climax too thick – it feels while reading each issue that we’re still in an introductory period not nearing the ending of the mini-series. I feel no closer to understanding the direction of the characters and their decision. There’s too much missing. There is no clear motivation for the characters. Despite its shortcomings I do want to see where Bunn plans on taking The Empty Man. Many doors were opened in the realm of possibilities giving him a lot of footing in the final issue.
What works well is the art provided by Vanesa R. Del Rey. She plays well within the veil of the uncertain story provided by Bunn. Her covers especially are sharp and foreboding and draw the reader in with intriguing images. My biggest complaint is the inconsistency of the coloring of the characters. The shades change and waver in issue 5 making it hard to identify the main characters until they’re called by name. It’s possible that I’m missing a specific artistic choice but I doubt the inability to identify who’s who was not the goal.
Issues 1-5 of The Empty Man are available now. Issue #6, the story’s conclusion is available November 12th from Boom Studios. A new series from Cullen Bunn, Wolf Moon, will be available from Vertigo in December.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Vanesa R. Del Rey
Colors: Michael Garland
Letters: Ed Dukeshire