Jimmie Robinson brought us the madness of Bomb Queen and the cleverness of Five Weapons, but this time he’s going solo on a different kind of tale…  Your Major Spoilers review of The Empty #1 awaits!

Empty1CoverTHE EMPTY #1
Writer: Jimmie Robinson
Penciler: Jimmie Robinson
Inker: Jimmie Robinson
Colorist: Jimmie Robinson
Letterer: Jimmie Robinson
Editor: Laur Tavishati
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.50

Previously in The Empty:  “Tanoor lives in an empty apocalyptic world of poison and decay.  Her village is all that remains of humanity as they struggle against mutant beasts and rotting bones. But Tanoor finds a chance to save her people when a stranger drifts into town; a stranger armed with the power to grow life from death.  A stranger who could change the world — if Tanoor can keep them alive in the deadly world of The Empty...”


From the very first page of this issue, Jimmie Robinson makes it clear that even if you’re familiar with his previous work (I enjoyed Bomb Queen, up to a point, and had an affection for Five Weapons), you have no idea what you’re getting from The Empty.  Page one features strange creatures with elongated necks and huge almond-shaped eyes, deliberating on whether or not to kill one of their own.  We cut immediately to a desert wasteland (the titular Empty), where a warrior and her foxalope (part fox, part antelope) are trying to find any quarry untainted by the rot that infests their world.  In a word, it’s weird, and the character designs are subtly alien enough that you don’t notice at first that they’re not humans.  Tanoor, the hunter, returns to her settlement with what little meat she can find, and clashes immediately with the leaders about how to proceed.  They want to wait for the land to return to a workable state, she respects death and feels it all around them, and knows that to survive, they must leave the Empty.  Things are complicated by the arrival of Lila, one of the long-necked folk from the first page, the one they debated upon disposing of, washing up dead on the shores of their poisoned ocean…


This book was a very rare example of a story that surprised me at nearly every turn, taking odd chances with perspective and design, and showing a more illustrative side of Robinson’s art style.  Tanoor herself is a mass of scars, wearing only bandages and strange wooden armor plates across her arms, while Lila’s people all wear golden bands around their disturbingly long necks.  Evidence of magic exists in this world as well, but it’s all for naught when the local religious leader decides that Lila is a demon who must be destroyed.  As the issue ends, Tanoor has managed to keep Lila alive, in the hopes of saving her people, but they’re probably going to be killed and eaten by a flock of Mool, who have to be seen to be believed.  I’m honestly not sure whether this is another world, a post-apocalyptic tale of our world or something entirely different, but I have to say I rather like it.  Robinson’s story is a familiar one in some ways, and Tanoor herself has the no-nonsense bearing of Conan in some ways, but the tale itself has just enough weird in it to make me want to read more of this world and find out what’s at the bottom of “the roots” that have poisoned the world, and whether the real threat is what I suspect it might be…


I’ll admit, this probably isn’t a story that everyone will be able to get into, especially when the art choices veer perilously close to the line between intentional and just plain wrong, but I’m interested in Tanoor’s story, in Lila’s people and what the relationship between The Empty and Lila’s home might actually be.  Robinson’s art is more subtle and expressive than it was in ‘Bomb Queen,’ but it retains it’s power and the use of facial expression is excellent throughout.  The Empty #1 is a book that I admit that I don’t understand, but makes a strong case for my sticking around to find out, taking intriguing choices in both art and story, and earning an impressive 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  Whatever is going on here, I’m willing to give it at least four issues to tell its tale based on the success of this book…



Robinson takes risks and makes bold design choices in a strange but somehow familiar tale. Fans of classic Heavy Metal might like this one...

User Rating: 2.5 ( 1 votes)
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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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