Kristen Renee Gorlitz (author), Eli Powell (artist)
February 18, 2020
Reviewed by Elaine Pascale
The Empties takes place in Detroit, and people in Michigan have been acting strangely. The local news is contributing the zombie-like behavior to bath salts. All that is known is that people are eating themselves, and others, and the epidemic is spreading.
Issue 1 opens with the local police confronting a disturbed and disturbing man. The images are stark yet engaging, and reminded me of the 30 Days of Night graphic novel (Steve Niles/Ben Templesmith) both in terms of style and because any time I see a growling human in a snowscape, I think of 30 Days of Night. Derick, the chef, is surprising his wife with her favorite: gummy crème brulee. Little does he know that she also has a few surprises up her sleeves. Most importantly, she wants to leave him, and the resulting anger turns them into figurative and literal monsters.
Caveat: I have only read the first issue, which sets the stage for things to come. It is intriguing and made me want to continue reading. The writing and images work well together, with Gorlitz allowing the visuals to tell parts of the story, while the dialogue explains the rest. This is a delicate pas de deux, as sometimes the writer can provide too much exposition which becomes redundant when imposed over the visuals.
The Empties focuses the zombie story on personal relationships. The question is asked, “why do we hurt those we love?” An image from the graphic novel has been provided and readers can access the first issue for free: http://www.freehorrorcomic.com/empties. Even if you are not a zombie fan, you will be interested in the effects that physical and emotional changes have on a marriage and how frightening it is to realize that you do not truly know the person you have been living with.