Image’s “The Empty #1” is Full of Promise REVIEW
Story & Art by: Jimmie Robinson
The Empty #1 is a fascinating dystopian tale that is all Jimmie Robinson. As writer and artist, this is Robinson’s baby and it looks gorgeous. It’s bright and engaging with characters in situations that serve as an allegory for our times as Tanoor tries to save her village from devastation by counting on the powers of a stranger to breathe new life into a world polluted by poison.
Tanoor also finds resistance from her own people but don’t offer better solutions to surviving the barren wasteland they’re found in. They don’t trust the stranger named Lila who washed up on shore from the Empty. Lila comes from a place that is completely the opposite of where she finds herself now – green, lush, plentiful, fruitful. This sparks Tannor’s drive to help her back there despite the mysterious circumstances that brought her there to begin with. Her powers to bring a dead tree to life also elicits cheers and good favor with the villagers.
Robinson has set-up an intriguing first issue that is straight-forward, but involving nonetheless. His character designs have a tribal aesthetic that works well in this apocalyptic world of survivors that are desperate and dependent on one another. The color choices are perfectly matched for the desert landscape made up of mostly tan-yellows and light bright blue skies. It effectively conveys a dry, sunny and hot location.
And the contrast with Lila’s recollection of her home is especially striking. The greens and blues are lush provoking a healthy robust agriculture. But it’s Robinson’s eye for perspectives and visual storytelling that is superb. No two panels are alike and the scenes are shot in ways that take different looks – close-up here, a wide shot there, Lila’s perspective, Tannoor’s perspective. The eye is never lulled into rest instead it’s trying to take each and every panel in.
The Empty #1 is off to an excellent beginning to what could become a great adventure. It’s reminiscent of Jeff Lemire’s work with thoughtful, intelligent characters under extraordinary circumstances. The art is absolutely wonderful and worth a read. Do yourself a favor and check it out.