Review - There's Nothing There #1 (blackmaskstudio)

The lifestyles of the rich and famous are something that very few everyday people can really fathom, primarily because they seem so unattainable. A lot of what goes with that culture is an approach to life rife with hedonism. Sometimes that hedonism leads to perverse after-effects that could border on supernatural as in There's Nothing There #1 from Black Mask Studio. The issue is written by Patrick Kindlon, illustrated by Maria Llovet and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Celebrity-socialite Reno Selleti doesn't believe in very much beyond Instagram comments, hipster drugs, and the flash of paparazzi cameras, so when a friend invites her to an EYES WIDE SHUT-type party she goes along mostly for the lulz. But the joke doesn't feel as funny when she realizes it's an actual occult ritual, and suddenly she's seeing things... Horrifying apparitions trying to warn her. "RUN."

Kindlon launches into There's Nothing There #1 by emphasizing the selfie-obsessed culture that Instagram celebrities cherish as the core underlying thread. His approach is sound in that it let's the reader know right away what kind of character Reno is (and the people she surrounds herself with). The dialogue is very quick and entertaining as well, offer glimpses into that culture through extremely biting statements that also bite the speaker--the exchange about a Long Island renovation's value is definitely a first-world problem. Where Kindlon excels the most though is the horror subtext underlying the entire issue that is spun as a celebrity breakdown. It's apparent that the masquerade-turned-orgy that opens the issue was something more and Kindlon's exploration of that will make the series interesting.

Llovet's artistic approach is very loose and relaxed, providing the book with a sense that everything is being sketched out. The book's premise is predicated on the rich and famous being just that and Llovet does a pretty solid job of rendering that mentality. Characters are illustrated with a loose attention to physique that effectively establishes the style of the characters themselves. There are a couple of pages in the middle of the book that very graphically represent an orgy and might turn some readers off, but Llovet handles the sequence well. And it's almost as if Llovet is looking to simulate a watercolor approach in the book in that there's vaguely colored shapes throughout that symbolize people and objects.

There's Nothing There #1 is a very intriguing first issue. Reno is a seemingly vapid lead character who might be getting into something quite a bit more terrifying than not taking UberBLACK. Kindlon's script does suffer from some pacing issues, but is otherwise pretty solid. Llovet's illustrations are appropriate as the amorphous approach reflects the fluidity of the characters' personalities. There's Nothing There #1 looks to parlay a reality show culture into something with more of a horror undertone.

There's Nothing There #1 is available now.