Written and drawn by Jimmie Robinson
Published by Image Comics
The latest Image series comes out this week in the form of Jimmie Robinson’s The Empty. The Empty follows up in similar style to Kurt Busiek’s The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw by unveiling its world, not by overused narration, but by exploring it through character and narrative. The story as it stands follows Tanoor, the designated hunter for a village of notably long armed humans. Her tribe is facing the very real threat of extinction by the Roots, mysterious organisms which emit poisonous gas and have been turning their entire world into an endless desert called the Empty. This changes as a girl by the name of Lila washes up on the shores, sporting massive eyes, an elongated neck, and the ability to miraculously resuscitate the dying plant life. Now Lila and Tanoor journey through the Empty to strike out the roots at their source.
If there is one thing to be said, it’s that The Empty wastes no time diving into its story. The central story is established all in the first issue with clear signs that more is at play. Simple things from the origin of the human tribes to Tanoor’s numerous scars are all hinted at but never extrapolated upon as the issue is setting up the main thrust of the series. The side details will be brought into the fold later on. Narrative-wise, this makes all the right decisions of a first issue. There are some minor hang ups, particularly the elder of Tanoor’s village serves little more than a cartoonish foil, only to go into new levels of one-sidedness near the end. The opening is particularly weak as it has little to do with the meat of the story and would have been better possibly the next issue.
Artwise, the book is suitable. There are not moments that pop out at the reader, but Robinson’s style suits the world well. He gives The Empty a strange and alien look. Things are skewed and familiar, almost following a dream-like logic. There are a few scenes set outside of the arid desert sporting fascinating designs. Robinson captures the endless Empty perfectly, but hopefully he’ll occasionally branch out into some varied climates.
Jimmie Robinson’s The Empty is a well-tailored first issue, diving head first into the world he’s established. While loose on some character,s this series is a pleasant read with many open ended possibilities.