What started out as a Kickerstarter concept last year has now developed into Image’s new series: Empty Zone which hits shelves on June 17th. Creator Jason Shawn Alexander (Abe Sapien: The Drowning), who both writes and illustrates the series, brings another dystopian world to comics in his new sci-fi horror thriller.
Chronicling the lead character, Corinne White, Alexander introduces readers to a world that goes beyond the average apocalyptic environment and features demons of supernatural nature as well as those inside of Corinne herself. So is it good?
Empty Zone #1 (IDW Publishing)
Empty Zone opens with Corinne in a broken state and the majority of the issue focuses on exploring her character rather than introducing us to her world. Corinne, equipped with a robotic arm, has some deep-seated issues that result in her going in and out of reality and seeing apparitions (or are they?). This first issue is a harsh look at Corinne’s altered state as she trudges through life, desperate for sanity and peace of mind. The glimpses of her environment we get to see are equally as bleak as it looks as though society had advanced past our current state before coming crashing down into a dirty urban ghetto.
I was expecting something a little different from the storyline. Advertised as “Mad Max meets The Walking Dead”, I anticipated a fast paced story with immediate action within a deserted, barren world. However, while it does cling to a post-apocalyptic theme, Empty Zone is more cyberpunk in thematic concept so it’s less dry wasteland and more technologically advanced urban environment. The storyline is much slower pace than expected as Alexander eases us into this world.
While it wasn’t the shoot ‘em up, introduction I was anticipating, this first issue is truly shocking with its grisly nature and dark concepts. It’s definitely a mature read based on both the violent and sexual images featured within the issue. The art is phenomenal and Alexander really knocks it out of the park. Alexander breaks from the more traditional panel structures and his artistic style as a whole isn’t commonly seen within these monthly series (but is whole-heartedly appreciated). It’s a very dark comic, visually speaking, and that helps set the dismal tone of the issue.
Now this is another book you have to dedicate some time and patience to (after reading Material earlier this week I’ve begun a trend of rereading books due to their complexity). Sometimes the speech bubbles aren’t easily connected to the speaker and there’s a lot of uniquely abstract concepts at play towards the end that are equally as intriguing as they are confusing. Honestly this is a comic that you may read a couple of times, but you’re perfectly content in doing considering you can spend full minutes gazing at the art.
Is It Good
Empty Zone #1 is a psychological trip that’ll leave you with more questions than answers and while that may be frustrating I have to acknowledge it’s a good start to the series. Backed with excellent art, Alexander has created the type of comic that you walk away from feeling slightly disturbed and you can’t identify why. Any comic that’s powerful enough to make you feel like you need to take a cold shower afterwards is a keeper. Look for Empty Zone #1 on June 17th.