There’s a fine line between art style and art which doesn’t stand up to merit, and There’s Nothing There seems to dance between that line. At times it can look great and has a cool “fashion art” style, while on other occasions I say to myself “wow, that hand looks terrible”.
Black Mask has published some very sought-after comics over the last few years and it’s great to see a publisher release books that seem to cater towards a very modern reading pool. The language and dialogue in this book is on point — it’s definitely mostly responsible for pushing this book forward. It made me smirk, smile and scoff at the right moments, which is good writing. The characters read well and have very believable voices. They’re fun characterizations, which is almost enough to carry this book. Almost.
I find myself in a predicament. On one hand we have the cast of characters whose voices are well written (albeit a little stereotypical) and on the other hand we have an art style that falls short on more than a few occasions, all wrapped around an average ritual/occult horror story. We follow Reno, a wealthy socialite, and her friends who try to figure out why she is suddenly seeing what looks like ghosts. Cut to a masquerade ball turn orgy, cut to mysterious guy following, cut to social media coverage etc etc. This book fails more than it succeeds mostly due to the fact that it’s nothing new, has more than a few cliche tropes and ultimately is presented in what looks like rushed art.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book let alone a terrible one, it’s just that it’s an extremely average book. It comes across as being a bit faddy and trying too hard to be relevant in its setting. Over the space of 100+ pages not very much happens and I’m a little curious to know how this collection manages to say so little about the plot/direction/cast.
There isn’t much in this title that would make me anticipate the next volume, which is a huge shame. Maybe it’s down to taste and some other reader, maybe you, would enjoy it more than I did, but I’m hard pressed to think that this is ever going to be someone’s favorite comic. It’s a very disposable story which serves a purpose as long as that purpose is to kill time. The voice of the book is fun but that just wasn’t enough for me unfortunately.