With this issue, The Empty Man has become a grand contender for equal praise with Hellraiser. Yes, the gore and violence is there; the cults and the tension from a villain whose power is still ambiguous or is at the least above our ultimate understanding and comprehension are present. Now, with the mind-bending, disturbing philosophy behind it all, it truly does take on that element that most horror movies and stories these days are missing.
This lives less in the mindset of Harrow County (Bunn’s recent brilliant foray into the horror genre) and fully immerses itself into the Clive Barker or David Cronenberg worlds, where the more surreal and abstract the ideas become, the more viscerally haunting it becomes. Once elements take shape lateral instead of literal, it allows for some incredibly weird elements to then become reality for our characters.
It’s one thing to be chased by a monster down a hallway, it’s another thing for the family that has become entangled in this world, for the mother to be one of those monsters, and then to be told a literal hell made of flesh exists and you can only believe it because of the person telling you / is the person telling you. I don’t know if I could ever feel like I was sane again. I don’t know if there’s a way to properly go back to daily life.
These are the elements Bunn is exploring, and artist Jesús Hervás is enjoying every panel. You can feel it with every bit of nastiness that comes the characters' way. And what truly brings this world to life is the tendency for following a random event for a page or two - to see how this world now controlled by The Empty Man has become, to see what it could become for the group of people we’re following.
If you’re a lover of horror, read this series.
Creative Team: Cullen Bunn (writer), Jesús Hervás (artist), Niko Guardia (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letters), Marie Krupina (designer), Eric Harburn (editor)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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