[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
A string of infant kidnappings rock the nation as the Empty Man pandemic continues to expand. Vicki is approached by a pair of agents working to investigate the Empty Man disease, but she is wary of them. Meanwhile, the cult urges Andrew to let them see his sick wife, Melissa. She has the Empty Man disease, and she’s getting worse.
The Empty Man #2 falls a bit short of the first issue. While the opening installment can impress and surprise with its horrific themes and ideas (I’ll admit, I had no idea this was a sequel series to a previous Empty Man comic when I first read Empty Man #1 from last month), this issue has less to offer the reader.
Make no mistake, this comic still lays on the horror for the reader, and it presents some gruesome imagery and concepts. However, there are only so many arm-blender-milkshakes and dead babies you can throw at the reader before even the most squeamish mind is left wondering what else you have.
The plot advances very little on the whole. The meeting between Vicki and the two agents (whom I think were in the first Empty Man series) goes nowhere beyond having the characters meet. The showdown between the Whisper Oracles and Andrew is diffused without incident. Nothing really moves forward in this issue.
Jesus Hervas’ artwork doesn’t decline at all this issue, though. The gore is expertly crafted, and there are many scenes where what is implied is just as gross and disquieting as what is scene. The Whisper Oracles’ leader looks just as despicable and inhuman as he should. Melissa’s face when we finally see her this issue will make you sick to your stomach. Niko Guardia’s color palette is pale, cool, and alienating.
The Empty Man #2 isn’t a bad comic, but it does leave a lot to be desired. The plot doesn’t go very far, and what the issue does offer seems only intended to vaguely nauseate as opposed to building the world or the horror proper. I can’t quite recommend it, unfortunately.
The Empty Man #2 comes to us from writer Cullen Bunn, artist and variant cover artist Jesus Hervas, color artist Niko Guardia, letterer Ed Dukeshire, and cover artist Vanesa R. Del Rey.