GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Empty Man: Recurrence

Boom!. Jul. 2019. 112p. ISBN 9781684153565. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781641443395. Rated: Teen+. HORROR
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A deadly phenomenon is plaguing the world, spreading like a viral infection from mind to mind. Once contracted, the afflicted feel they receive commands from a mysterious entity, the Empty Man, who urges self-harm, mass murder, and destruction. This terrifying situation becomes real for the Kerry family when mother Melissa comes down with the syndrome and begins self-mutilations. The family tries to treat it themselves, but two different forces barge into their home. One is a group of Empty Man cultists looking to ensure their master’s wishes are carried out in full, with Melissa a linchpin for his plans. Joint FBI/CDC agents Monica and Owen are acting outside of their jurisdiction; Monica’s former partner has disappeared combating the plague in another dimension, and she feels it’s her duty to keep fighting on this side to help his cause. Around the Kerry home and neighborhood, horribly mangled manifestations of the Empty Man’s world begin crawling into existence as everyone argues over what to do about Melissa.
VERDICT Veteran scribe Bunn (Harrow County), with artist Hervás (Lucas Stand) and colorist Guardia, brings dense plotting and chilling body-horror imagery in this gripping first installment of an ongoing series that metaphorically uses social media as a strange virus metastasizing terror.

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