Review – Empty Zone #4 (Image Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer/Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Release Date: 23rd September, 2015

Issue number four finally lets you grab at that loose edge and pull away at the corner to reveal some of the story, and it doesn’t disappoint. I’ve been excited for Empty Zone since issue one, it’s a genre that I personally love and the style of presentation and art in this comic almost feels like it was tailor made for me.

Without revealing too much of the story Corine now has a lead on who is sent the -uh- robot/human/dead thing to kill her friend and lover, and it’s time to find out why. She makes her way to a business called the Oni Group and has a meeting with a Mr Akanimoh who explains to her what exactly the thing that she killed is, how she is connected to it, and why he needs her. He offers her a lot of money for her help, and if she refuses he’ll facilitate her help anyway, but this time with added pain.

I’m trying to give you an overview here, but without giving away the reveals (and believe me, they are satisfying exposes that promise a more interesting and bigger story). The final sequence is quite brilliant as a vehicle to move the plot along, and I really want this story to continue. I want to find out more, it’s as if someone has just pulled the curtain back and now we can see the bigger picture. It’s pretty great.

I really enjoy the world that Jason Shawn Alexander has created in this comic, the Cyberpunk – Supernatural – Science – Horror really is working well. It’s very balanced and draws from a myriad of influences that I just love. I’ve seen references to Neuromancer, Jonny Mnemonic, Tron and Cthulhu amongst many others, I have almost as fun picking out these influences as I have reading the story itself. The great thing is that these influences, while apparent, don’t feel forced.

The artwork is epic, I love Alexanders style. It’s so reminiscent of Artwork in comics from my youth, specifically the work of Simon Bisley and Pat Mills. The ink work is exceptionally fine and detailed, but the transposition of many of the panels between subject and blank background is striking, or how Alexander draws the frame or panel lsubject in great detail in the foreground transitioning into vague detail in the background reminds me of photography bokeh, and gives the artwork some real depth. The colour work by Nct compliments this brilliantly, I love airbrush work, and when done right it could look at it for hours. This work is exceptional.

Empty Zone seems to me a very real creation, and it is building drama and story in the right way. It’s a gradual progression, but with each new episode another fine layer of detail is being added and you find yourself becoming more and more immersed in this story. It very much reminds me of Season One of Breaking Bad in that respect. Whether it can reach the dizzy heights of that juggernaut remains to be seen, but it’s made a damn good start so far.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.

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