Apocalypse Day’s agent, Ann Ninurta, is the most reliably badass agent since the first volume. There are other comparisons between Ninurta and the first volume’s lead, like being blonde, midriff-revealing, and obsessed with babies. The first volume’s lead wanted to have a baby, Ninurta’s got a baby. Well, a toddler. Ninurta’s taking her to daycare when the Protocol 8 order comes in, and she’s off to the bridge, where even the captain is sick of doing the setup spiel and leaves it to the icky dude lieutenant.
Who, as per usual, does inappropriately come on to Ninurta (who’s already scored one hot boy’s phone number, a smuggler, and his crew riding the Infinity 8), but she shuts him down without a thought. The comic winks through Ninurta getting the assignment; while she’s never heard it before, the captain, the lieutenant, and the reader are on their fifth go-around.
Ninurta’s also the first agent to have a good grasp on Protocol 8, which will be important later on. While the time reset has always been a factor of Infinity 8, it’s a lot more integral to Ninurta’s character arc. Not really a character development arc because it’s the fifth volume, so she doesn’t get to finish things up, but arc. She’s got a killer arc.
Ninurta’s initial investigation of the space graveyard is no different than anyone else’s. Less exciting, in fact, they apparently gave all the good missions to the first four people. Ninurta’s just flying around, looking to see if she can stumble into anything before time’s up.
Complicating things is an inventor on the Infinity 8 who’s just perfected a resurrection beam. Unfortunately, it makes the resurrected mindless zombies—down to bite transmissions; Infinity 8 is excellent for introducing other genres’ tropes into its sci-fi setting.
Oh, and then something else goes wrong, and the beam gets amplified all over the ship, creating at least a few zombies, but more importantly, it travels across the solar system-sized space graveyard of dead things. So Ninurta doesn’t just have the zombie outbreak on the ship to worry about (her kid and ex-husband are still there, and she doesn’t trust the ex in a zombie outbreak), but also everything in space trying to kill her too.
She’ll go back and forth from the ship and graveyard various times, eventually teaming up with her love interest and his band of misfits for some comedy relief and zombie fodder. Ninurta’s also got to make sure her kid’s okay, which isn’t easy on a ship overrun with zombies.
The story’s always very sci-fi, but writers Lewis Trondheim and Davy Mourier heavily leverage the zombie story tropes. This person’s got it and is hiding it, and so on. The emotional weight of Ninurta’s story is heavier than any of the lead agents to date, though Patty Stardust was in a lot of danger last time.
Patty returns this issue, making it her third appearance in Infinity 8 (so more than fifty percent). Ninurta and her sidekicks need a speedy starship, and damned if Patty isn’t part of the entourage, along with her dipshit guru boss, who doesn’t have a chance to be as much of a dipshit because Patty didn’t get the mission this volume.
How the individual agents affect the outcomes of their missions will be an interesting thing to reflect on. While their mission is exploration and reacting to what they find, everyone’s got a lot of baggage complicating matters. Well, maybe not the agent in the first series, whose interest in having a baby was comedic, not character development.
There are some other callbacks, whether it’s a one-panel cameo from a familiar robot or an alien species readers ought to remember who like to eat dead things. It’s a very full second half. There’s some breathing space in the first, but things go from bad to worse at the halfway point, and it’s pandemonium afterward.
Surprisingly, Trondheim and Mourier have a significant reveal in the last act, so Infinity 8 isn’t going to wait until the final volume to spill. Another significant reveal from the previous volume (or was it the volume before) also comes back in a big way, so maybe they’ll pace out the reveals. Can’t wait.
The only thing wrong with Apocalypse is just okay artist Lorenzo de Felici. From his aliens, he’d do a great Muppet comic. From his people, he’d do something where everyone has too big eyes. It’d be fine if he made up with it on the rest, but the visual pacing’s hurried and unsure. With the right artist, this volume would be the easy best. With de Felici, it’s a contender.
Anyway. Can’t wait to see where Trondheim steers Infinity next.