It’s rare that Dystopian and Utopian fiction would coexist in the same story, but that’s what The Empty is all about. And while this pairing is thematically awesome, the story struggles to find it’s grove in issue #1.
The official description from Image:
Tanoor lives in an empty apocalyptic world of poison and decay. Her village is all that remains of humanity as they struggle against mutant beasts and rotting bones.But Tanoor finds a chance to save her people when a stranger drifts into town. A stranger armed with the power to grow life from death. A stranger who could change the world—if Tanoor can keep them alive in the deadly world of The Empty.
Established comic book creator Jimmie Robinson is back this month with The Empty #1, a new series that’s not shy about playing with religious themes. First, meet Lila — an angelic creature that literally gets cast out of paradise and finds herself stranded in a parched desert somewhere past her realm, the outer fringes of which are know as The Wasteland. The desert, we learn, is a land ravaged by parasites known as “the roots,” a plague that has zapped all life from the soil and robbed the local people (all of whom look like extras from Mad Max) of security or joy. One of the most successful scavengers is Tanoor, who, despite the desolation of her land, seems the most hopeful that things can change. It’s Tanoor who ultimately discovers Lila, sparks the inklings of a friendship with her, and begins to explore if and how some of Lila’s homeland magic might make it’s way to the Wasteland. As with any new series, issue #1 is about set-up and Robinson does a decent job of establishing not only the stakes of this new world and it’s major players. That said, the dialogue is often stilted and story, at times, stalls, as Robinson tries to deliver too much information to quickly — a sin that, while annoying, is very forgivable given everything that a premier issue has to accomplish. If issue #1 is any indication The Empty promises to be a meditation on insular societies, xenophobia and faith. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.
The art, also provided by Jimmie Robinson is somewhat lacking here. While the landscape is rich (or appropriately desolate), the figures are rigid and often awkward. At this point readers will chalk it up to the newness of the project — it takes a while for any artist to get to know his or her characters.
Overall, The Empty offers a wonderful premise and fascinating start. Fingers crossed it stays that way.