Review – There’s Nothing There #1 (Black Mask Studios)

Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Writer: Patrick Kindlon
Artwork: Maria Llovet
Release Date: April 26, 2017

Before I dig too deeply into this review, let me preface by saying that this isn’t a genre of comic that I typically will go for. Being a reviewer, however, means that sometimes we have to branch out and be able to look at the medium for what it is… art. And I will say that even though this isn’t necessarily a genre I’m a fan of, I did enjoy the read.

Patrick Kindlon and Maria Llovet have given us a window into the life of a socialite by the name of Reno. Reno is a pretentious, self-obsessed and very sure of herself. We are introduced to her at a masquerade where she is so self-absorbed that she doesn’t even feel the need to participate in the wearing of the mask.  I mean, when you pay an inordinate amount of money to look good, people deserve to see it, right?

The party quickly changes gears from a jovial gathering to an all-out 3 or 4 page orgy, complete with strange, unexplained visions. In the aftermath, we find Reno at home waking from her night of partying, which judging by her maid’s reaction is very typical behaviour. The only problem is that now Reno is continuing to see these strange visions, even while not participating in the debauchery of the night before.

Kindlon’s writing makes the lead characters seem very believable and true to what she is intended to be. Reno is the typical center of attention and the supporting characters are, to this point, exactly that, supporting characters. I didn’t feel that any other characters really stood out thus far, which isn’t a slight on the writer by any means, since Reno is the main character, and carries the spotlight well.

When witing a horror comic, it can be hard to stand out as being new and fresh, but in a lot of ways There’s Nothing There has managed to overcome that obstacle by capturing my interest. While I did find that the orgy scene was perhaps a little overdone and had hints of ‘shock value’, I’m hesitant to judge the series as a whole given that this is just the first issue.  Plus, the mixture of the macabre is suitably mysterious, and it’s not clear yet what has actually caused these visions, only that sex and drugs were involved. The dialogue is also witty throughout, and is handled in such a way that you could imagine sitting at an upscale venue over hearing these conversations take place by those of a higher social status than you.

At first glance, the artwork didn’t particularly catch my attention. However, as I got further into the issue, I realised that Maria Llovet’s work sets the mood for this series perfectly. It has an almost watercolor feel to it, not dissimilar to fashion sketches. This aesthetic choice enhances the personality that Reno carries as a socialite. The character movement and body language also help to move the story at a pace consistent with the dialogue, and while the detail is not intense, it does exactly what it needs to.

Overall, if you are a fan of horror, you should definitely consider giving There’s Nothing There a look.  My slight reservations aside, I’m definitely on board for issue two, if only find to find out exactly what’s going on, what’s causing these visions and just where Reno fits in. Kindlon and Llovet… there’s definitely something there!

Rating: 3.5/5.

[Click to Enlarge]

The writer of this piece was: Shane Hoffman (aka “Hoff”)
You can also find Hoff on Twitter.

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