Image Comics launched a new series last week called The Empty, a creator-owned series written, drawn, colored and lettered by Jimmie Robinson. It takes place in an apocalyptic world void of almost any life. While the premise is interesting, the execution of the first issue was disappointing.
The story follows Tanoor, a hunter in the Empty tasked with feeding her dying village. Everything in her world has turned to dust since unknown roots showed up and began to poison the soil and the air. As far as she travels, she is unable to find meat that is untainted by the rot from the roots. Things are looking grim for the village when Lila, a stranger from another world, is found unconscious on the shore. Lila is blessed with the gift of making life from death and Tanoor immediately sees an opportunity to save her village and her world. Together, the two of them begin the journey to the source of the roots.
The premise presented here is an interesting one. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the stranger and the world she comes from. The book capitalizes on mystery, giving the readers almost no information about the world. It’s fun to discover the world slowly and the question about the source of the roots may prove enough to keep readers interested in the series.
Tanoor herself is a fine protagonist, though some of her dialogue feels lifeless. This is a recurring problem in the issue. The character interactions don’t feel natural. I found it hard to focus on the conversations between Tanoor and the village elder. The characters don’t give the reader a reason to care about them or their struggle. The mysteries presented may be enough to warrant a purchase of the second issue. However, until the characters are developed in meaningful ways, it won’t be enough to drive the series forward.
Robinson’s art is stylized and many of the characters have exaggerated features. While this does work for some panels, there are a number of instances where the style works against the narrative. Certain perspectives make the characters look malformed and in turn sacrifices the sense of immersion. Robinson does some really nice work with the colors and panels focused on the landscapes and silhouettes are some of the best in the book.
The Empty is a series that will have a lot to prove with the second issue. The setup here is solid and, though there are some issues with dialogue and style, the overarching mysteries are enticing. There are good ideas in the book. I hope the next issue can capitalize on those.