blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Infinity 8: Volume One: Love and Mummies (2016-17)

Infinity 8 v1

Infinity 8 is very high concept. It’s a series of eight stories, originally published in European volumes, published in the United States as eight, three-part limited series. It’s a combination of hard and soft sci-fi: a passenger ship has encountered a space graveyard and needs to investigate. They send a single agent. Agents are intergalactic super-cops, but good guys.

That agent will investigate, relaying findings back to the ship, whose captain can reset time in eight eight-hour-loops (so it should be Infinity 888). The next time out, the agent or crew will have that extra experience.

All that high concept comes through in roughly three pages. Writers Lewis Trondheim and Zep don’t spend much time on the concept. It’s a very interesting way to do a first chapter: intentionally delay establishing the ground situation. But then again, maybe the possible timelines only matter once you have comparable ones.

The agent this issue is named Yoko Keren. She’s just a passenger on the ship, enlisted to help out because she’s never off-duty exactly; she’s been trying to find a suitable mate from the 880,000 (88, get it?) other passengers. She scans all of them, checking their medical records.

She also breaks up bar fights as necessary. Otherwise, we don’t really get to know the character. She has one intense experience after another; Love and Mummies is mostly an action comic. Sci-fi action, lots of imaginative design, lots of humor, but it’s all action. Point A to B to C to D and back to A via C but not B. Once it’s done being an action story, it becomes a romantic comedy, which retroactively contextualizes the whole thing as a romantic comedy and makes it even more successful. Trondheim and Zep are dealing with alien species, an undefined future, and the mysterious space graveyard, and they weave a lovely, amusing romantic comedy through it. It’s like they finish weaving the story, and then you see what it’s been.

It’s an utterly charming approach, which is particularly effective since the story itself gets gross.

First, Yoko’s got to deal with an annoyingly horny second officer, who doesn’t just proposition her (without even knowing she’s on a mate hunt); he also pesters her via comlink while she’s out exploring. Then she’s got to navigate around the space graveyard, where most things are covered in maggots.

Unfortunately, the Infinity 8 is carrying many Kornaliens, a species who loves to eat dead things. The longer dead, the better. They crave it uncontrollably and riot until they can get off the ship and find corpses to munch on.

Initially, the Kornalien subplot is separate from Yoko’s exploration plot. She discovers artifacts from a wide range of sources, including the now destroyed planet Earth, but when she happens into a Buddha’s temple, her story collides with the Kornalien subplot. There she meets Sagoss, who’s just eaten a monk who died for love, and now Sagoss has those same emotions towards Yoko.

Unfortunately, his fellow Kornaliens have just decided the best way to get corpses to eat is to make them out of the Infinity 8’s passengers. They start attacking the ship, turning Yoko’s exploration mission into a combat one, against incredible odds.

Making things more difficult are the Kornaliens who maybe aren’t attacking the passenger ship, but have still eaten something to give them unhelpful emotions.

Plus, Sagoss is an electrician and Yoko needs an action sidekick.

There’s lots of suspense—including an exquisite chase sequence—there’s a lot of humor, there’s a lot of great art. Dominique Bertail does the art (with Olivier Vatine doing the design for the whole series). Bertail’s got a lovely sense of pacing in space; Yoko’s either on jet thrusters or a cosmic sled and the art conveys her velocity alongside the enormity of the space graveyard. It’s wonderfully well-paced.

The end’s a little too cute, a little too rushed, but it’s not actually Yoko’s story, after all; she’s just one chapter of Infinity 8.

One response to “Infinity 8: Volume One: Love and Mummies (2016-17)”

  1. Vernon W

    Yep, just one chapter. It’s great you’re running these, easily some of my favorite comics in my collection. Enjoy, and I’ll enjoy them all over again thanks to you.

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