The Empty Man #4 is a horror comic published by BOOM! Studios and by the creative team made up of writer Cullen Bunn (Bone Parish, Harrow County), artist Jesús Hervás (Lucas Stand, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser), colorist Niko Guardia, and letterer Ed Dukeshire.
Previously, we were introduced more in-depth to the new threat The Whisper Oracles. Their warped religious ideology worships The Empty Man and will do anything and everything to not only protect the infected but stop the non-infected from deterring the spread of the mysterious virus. The strange cult is now after the Kerry family who is on the run from their attack with the help of two, now former, FBI agents, one of who is infected but somehow managing the virus. But their safety and the world’s still holds in the balance as we see a grotesque creature prowling in the night as we learn more about the Empty Man virus’ origin.
Victims of this epidemic speak as if they are prophets to a cruel higher being. Sometimes in media, disability is framed as a strange gift — kids with autism are geniuses, people with down syndrome can teach us kindness and more ableist ideologies — but it is interesting to see that flipped on its head. The victims of the Empty Man virus are “gifted” but not in the way we traditional would want. The victims of this plague are feared by the rest of society and they don’t really understand what is happening to them other than the strange notion some higher being is pulling the strings.
The Empty Man virus in a lot of ways reminds me of the Ebola panic in 2014 and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Society’s treatment of the ill was to often regard them with fear over compassion. This book runs with that, making the victims actually something to be feared. This comic offers an interesting perspective on society and religion’s handling of disability and the disabled, at least from my perspective as a disabled woman.
Outside of Bunn’s fantastic narrative, Hervás art shines a beacon of its own. The gritty and dark style compliments the tone of the book. The panel layouts in this book are fantastic and immensely creative, especially during moments of high intensity and action. Additionally, Guardia’s colors particularly in the first few pages of the book are bright but still retain the book’s eerie presence thanks to the heavy shadows and thick line work.
Overall, The Empty Man #4 is another beautifully crafted issue from BOOM! Studios and this creative team. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and it is my favorite comic on shelves right now. So far, I have not rated any previous issues less than a 5/5 and this is no different. Considering the number of comics I read and review, that recommendation should carry some weight.
The Empty Man #4 is available now in comic book stores everywhere
The Empty Man #4
Overall, The Empty Man #4 is another beautifully crafted issue from BOOM! Studios and this creative team. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and it is my favorite comic on shelves right now.