Publisher: Image Comics
Writer/Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Release Date: 16 December, 2015
Empty Zone started as a Kickstarter project by Eisner Award-nominated artist and all round wonderful talent Jason Shawn Alexander (Abe Sapien). It was a long time in the making – 20 years to be exact – as he originally came up with the concept when he was 19 years old. After a fall out with an old publisher, it was put on the backburner for years to come. However, thanks to some well-placed advice he was inspired to revisit his creation. And the rest is history, as this week sees the release of the entire first series omnibus.
This isn’t your typical story. Even by weird cyberpunk comic standards this is a wholly original body of work unlike anything else on the shelves. The influences are apparent throughout – Neuromancer and Sin City will spring to mind occasionally and fans of both will likely get a get a kick out of Empty Zone. However, despite its pastiche of influences shining through, it really isn’t like anything else out there and is definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of the bizarre, unique and horrific.
The first arc follows Corrine White, an ex-soldier and current spy wrestling with drug and alcohol addiction. However, those are nothing compared to the problem of encountering the reanimated dead, robots and the evil plans of a wacko billionaire while coming to terms with her own past. It’s not a simple story to explain, so just go into it as blind as possible under the mind set you’re in for a treat and let it boggle your mind in the best of ways.
The series has everything you could want from a story – bizarre dream sequences, a cyberpunk universe, an abundance of style and even some necrophilia. Alexander has created a dark, limitless world where anything is possible worthy of hosting many stories for years to come. It’s a world you’ll want to revisit time and time again, enhanced with the incredible artwork Alexander has become renowned for.
Empty Spaces: Conversations With The Dead is a work of passion from a writer and artist bringing a 20 year dream to life. After working for hire throughout his career, it’s great to see such a great talent unshackled and thriving at his creative best. This is yet another perfectly good reason to give Image even more of your hard-earned money.
The writer of this piece was: Kieran Fisher
Kieran Tweets from @HairEverywhere_.