cover image The Empty Man: Recurrence

The Empty Man: Recurrence

Cullen Bunn and Jesús Hervás. Boom! Studios, $14.99 (112p) ISBN 9781684153565

This chill-inducing collection follows the Empty Man series and delves deeper into its central conceit: a virus that causes paranoia, violent behavior, and shared hallucinations of a demonic “Empty Man” who encourages the infected to kill. When a suburban woman comes down with the disease, government agents Monica and Owen leap into action, racing against the Whisper Oracles, a cult that believes the Empty Man is real and the virus a harbinger of his coming. As the woman and her family decide whom to trust, shadowy monsters descend on the town and the line between hallucination and reality grows less and less clear. Initially awkward at re-establishing the premise, the volume finds its footing—along a path of X-Files-style government paranoia—as it steps back into its dark world. The crisp art is equally effective at action scenes, nightmarish visions, and occasional moments of shocking gore. By the close of the first volume, the story is advancing at a satisfying clip, but it’s still unclear where the various plot threads are leading and whether the reality-bending setup will pay off. Fans of series such as Gideon Falls or Locke and Key are likely to enjoy the combination of psychological and body horror. Agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell (July)