The story of the Empty Man virus is back again and the new series makes it a great entry for those unfamiliar with the story’s universe. With secrets and destruction and a whole lot of hopelessness permeating the world, the tone is set for an evolving mystery that is sure to intrigue.
Note: This recap may contain spoilers!
The first issue of the new series opens with an overview of the state of the world now, and as the issue progresses we get more information about the Empty Man virus and its stages of progression. This is great for those who are unfamiliar with the universe, like me. I got all the information I needed while not being bogged down because it fit so seamlessly within the story.
The world now feels like it’s without hope. The Empty Man virus is spreading and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of answers as to how to constrain or cure it. It seems that we’ll be getting the story from the point of view of one familyL Melissa, Andrew, and their daughter Vicki. Melissa, it seems, is in the early stages of the virus, though she and her husband are trying to deny it to keep themselves safe.
Through the narrative, we learn that there are stages to the virus. First stage, the Empty man is “glimpsed” by the affected individual. They experience hallucinations and become obsessed with them. Next stage, the hallucinations become more vivid. The victims think they see a man and they lose all concept of what is real and what is not. They often become comatose and become focused on conversations with the hidden figure. If they wake up from their coma, then they can cause harm to themselves or others before they die and visit the Empty Man.
I think it will be interesting to see how Melissa loses herself as the disease progresses. Already, she’s drawing all over the walls in her room with blood that’s not her own, recounting her rantings about the Empty Man, and later it’s clear she’s having violent breaks in her sanity. With the threat of the virus causing a number of negative reactions, including murder or suicide, there’s no telling how far down the path Melissa might progress.
There’s also the radicalization that has occurred with the virus already, with murder cults and religious fanatics latching onto the disease as a sign of motivation for their own actions. People are running on fear or delusions. We got to see that a bit at the school, where Vicki’s teacher gives them a pop quiz that is about the Empty Man virus, meant to weed out those who might have it. And again when a crowd comes knocking at Andrew’s door, offering to help him with his wife’s illness, and they turn out to be worshipers of the disease. With the FBI/CDC task force on the trail and asking Vicki questions, it’s probably only a matter of time before Melissa’s secret is discovered, but for now we’ve got a great set-up and a nice start to the series. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars