The Empty #1
Art/Writing/Colors/Concepts: Jimmie Robinson
Before We Begin
I am a pretty big fan of Jimmie Robinson's work, ranging from the super fun series Bomb Queen to Avigon to his old Cyberzone comics. He is just always fun and no two of his series are the same, or even similar. Robinson has proven to be very versatile in his comics career and The Empty, I'm happy to say, is no exception. And seriously! Look at the cover! What an AWESOME cover!
The Meat and Potatoes
The Empty is... well I suppose I could say it's a post apocalyptic story. Atmospherically, think Road Warrior meets Dune minus the technology/gangs (and Sting) and that's the world. Tanoor is a hardened hunter-for-hire (with a fox sidekick) who is currently working for a dreary (I'm going to go ahead and say doomed) little town. Tanoor has noticed that the poisonous roots which have corroded the world, diminished the food supply, and mutated people are still spreading at a pretty alarming rate. She is helping folks simply survive, but morale is down and everyone is starting to accept the inevitable. Everything gets flipped upside down, however, when a girl named Lila washes up on the shore near this village. Lila soon begins to develop certain abilities which make Tanoor hopeful while the village elder sees this as a bad omen. This sets the stage for what is clearly going to evolve into an enjoyable adventure story.
Robinson has made a world that obviously has a large history, which even during this first issue we are starting to get briefed on. He also provides an understanding of duality, as Lila's lush homeland is described and shown in contrast to Tanoor's barren surroundings. Their is a swift sense of comradery between the two main ladies, stemming from Lila's curiosity and Tanoor's open minded search for solutions. This first issue is a completely different type of story, providing an interesting partnership in an ill-fated land. Also, the back of the issue has a short plot synopsis, a very welcome addition to a new book.
Robinson's character models are veeeeery interesting. Lila's species is basically human with long necks and very wide set eyes, while Tanoor's, also basically human, have very long arms. At first this is visually surprising, because these characters are so close to looking human, and just a little off. As these characteristics become more apparent throughout the issue, the reaction goes from being surprised to finding it clever. There are monsters in this world, that seem purposefully out of place, as the roots have caused them to form. My absolute favorite character to see drawn is Tanoor's fox partner, Fenx, who is drawn in a fun and whimsical way. The backgrounds of this desert-scape are, as the title describes, empty. On the other side of the spectrum, Lila's world is illustrated as lush, colorful and full of life and innovation, that I hope is shown further in future issues. Suffice it to say, The Empty obviously has more hiding in the sand, and the art is going to do a great job digging it up.
Jimmie Robinson's completely creator owned work, The Empty, is a tale that screams originality. I mentioned Road Warrior and Dune earlier as a frame of reference but honestly, nothing has the same feel that this story has. The first issue cements the atmosphere of the world perfectly, while giving an easy introduction to the characters. It may not be the happiest story, but it is intriguing, different, and shows a ton of promise. The first issue came out just last week for $3.50. Get it before it's too late!