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"The Empty Man #4" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by BOOM! Studios

Empty Man 4 Large

Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Jesus Hervas
Colored by Niko Guardia
Lettered by Ed Dukeshire
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 6th, 2019

Review:

You thought The Empty Man was scary when it was just infecting people and causing them to commit heinous acts of violence. Now it has manifested as a monstrous creature ready to tear people apart. The Empty Man #4 takes the series in a bold new direction, making it about much more than just a terrifying disease.

Let's talk about this monster first. Artist Jesus Hervas has outdone himself in this design. It's part scorpion, part lobster, part professional wrestler, and all creepy. This thing is massive and it seems to move pretty quickly. It has a very intimidating presence as it towers over normal people. You can't read its emotions, but I'm not sure it has any. It seems to only want to destroy.

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We see this monster stalking its prey, leaping from rooftop to rooftop in a quiet suburban neighborhood, making this creepy hissing sound as it moves through the air. The sound effect fills the page, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere. You can't escape this sound as it's ever present and invasive.

Colorist Niko Guardia adds to the terror of this beast. It's a dark red in color, very much like blood. The shadows add to its mystique,its eyes glow an eerie yellow and since there are quite a few of them, it makes for a pretty spooky sight. Imagine seeing about a dozen eyes staring at you from the darkness. Oh, and the teeth glow too!

If you're new to The Empty Man and missed the original mini-series, writer Cullen Bunn gives you quick recap in such a way that isn't too exposition heavy. Hervas drops a bunch of images in a really cool panel layout that rehashes what came before while adding some additional context. This shows just how deep this virus goes and how we're just scratching the surface of the horrors in store. Letterer Ed Dukeshire guides us through this landscape with his word balloon placement, ensuring we take in each image and let them sink in.

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Proving that creepy kids always make a horror story scarier, The Empty Man #4 has a sequence bookending the issue with a couple of tikes that would give Damien a run for his money. Hervas gives them these sunken eyes that can stare right into your soul. They're seeing things as a result of the disease that's ravaging their bodies that just don't make sense to a normal human being.

The Empty Man is expanding on everything that came before and doing so in a really terrifying way. The stakes are upped considerably as we dig deeper into this virus and what kind of monsters – literally and figuratively – it can create. If this is what we've got so far, I can't imagine what the rest of the series has in store for us.

Grades:

Story: Fourstars Empty Man 4 Small
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Art: Fourandahalfstars
Overall: Fourstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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