cover image The Empty Zone, Vol. 1

The Empty Zone, Vol. 1

Jason Shawn Alexander. Image Comics, $9.99 (136p) ISBN 978-1-63215-548-1

With this series, Alexander makes a major departure%E2%80%94both aesthetically, and in terms of scope%E2%80%94from his previous work on books such as Abe Sapien: The Drowning and Queen & Country. Alexander's comics writing debut, drawing upon an idea he had as a teenager, stars Corinne White, a woman with peculiar technological powers who is haunted by ghosts from her past. When the souls of Corinne's dead friends are enslaved by a deranged billionaire, she's drawn back into the life that scarred her many years ago. Alexander weaves a lively near-future SF tale of industrial espionage and bioengineering, but his art truly places this book ahead of the pack, as he experiments with a style that resembles a mash-up of the most bizarre aspects of Ben Templesmith and Dave McKean's moody expressionist work. One scene in particular, in which a spirit is torn from its cadaver, brings chills to the marrow with its use of sharp contrasting color and eerie lettering. Corinne's character arc is somewhat abridged, but it's clear that she has further lessons to be learned in future volumes. (Dec.)