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Infinity Inc. #1

Infinity Inc. #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 5, 2007

Cover date: November 2007

"Luthor's Monsters - Part One"

Writer: Peter Mulligan
Penciller: Max Fiumara
Inker: Max Fiumara

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Luthor's Infinity, Inc. is briefly recalled, showing John Henry and his uncovering of Natasha Irons, AKA Starlight, Erik Storn, AKA Fury, and Gerome McKenna, AKA Nuklon.

Cut to the present where Natasha screams in a torn apartment, leaping three stories to the ground and running, bloodied, in front of a car. The car nearly hits her, before exploding into umbrellas.

In her therapy, Natasha reveals we've been watching a dream, and that this is where she usually wakes up. Her therapist, Ruth Maloney, sees this as a breakthrough. We then see Natasha storming out of the office, leaving in anger. (Neal note: Not exactly sure if she breaks the door here, it's an odd angle. More on that in my Art rating.)

John Henry talks to Robin about where to find Gerome and Erik.

A man named Dale meets with an "existential therapist," indicating that he's seen many therapists without success or luck. The existentialist points out that all life ends in death, and Dale agrees, going crazy and attacking the doctor, burning him with his hands and killing him. He stops on the way out to kill the receptionist.

John Henry visits Erik, AKA Fury, and talks about how he's been in therapy, the "national religion." As they speak of Nuklon, the scene turns to Nuklon, also in therapy with clinical narcissism. He tells the doctor that he's not succeeding in combating it, and another Nuklon walks into the room, startling the doctor.

Dale kills his kid sister. A friend knocks, seeking Dale. Dale staggers out, disappearing. The friend comes in to find the entire family murdered.

Natasha, walking into her apartment, sees a shadowy figure that embodies her dream. Inside, she talks to John Henry, who tells her he's been out talking with Erik. Angry, Natasha heads into the kitchen, starts eating, singing randomly, and ignoring John Henry. When she touches him, she disappears in a puff of smoke, much to John Henry's horror.

2Story - 2: I really wanted to like this. I mean, it spins off one of my favorite beats of 52, and it has characters I truly enjoy. Natasha. John Henry. Even the brief intro to Infinity Inc. made me look up the comics that were before my time and get jazzed up.

Unfortunately, the writing is scattered, the characters give you little to identify with, and the premise is shaky and odd.

What made it a two, then? Well, I'm not sure, to be honest. I just didn't hate it, loathe it, despise it. Maybe it's because I see some potential here, in the beginnings of the story.

The problem being, there was too little of it to go around, too many coincidences, and it was structured poorly, with some waste.

To start off with, repeating a dilemma is one of the worst possible writing failings, and it happens here multiple times in an effort to draw a parallel between the characters. This fails, because we instinctively desire distinction between characters. It's why Batman analogues don't wear a Bat symbol, and why Steel, to wit, has a lack of red blue and yellow. Here all of the characters are in therapy and struggling with it, that's the first repeated dilemma. The second is the murder to establish Dale as a threat, as opposed to making him original and identifiable.

I'm chuckling at the idea of the existential therapist driving a guy to be a villain, mostly because I can't stand most existentialists. I think it's a pragmatist atheist thing. But still, it's a Smallville villain. The guy all of a sudden decides to start killing people. And as if that isn't bad enough, it's structured poorly.

First, he kills the doc, then he kills the receptionist after it's already been established that he's killing people randomly. Waste of pages, and redundant plot, which makes for bad reading.

Then they do it again, with the family. Now, one can argue that it ramps up the drama to show him killing a family over an existentialist (har!) who means less (eh?), but then you have the dilemma of the fact that they build and build to the big reveal of the dead family when you already know it's coming in the second panel of the scene, as he's killed kid sister.

The ending is also confusing. I don't know if Nat was taken over by the baddie, or what. I know there's something to be said for the mystery of that circumstance and how the next issue will define it, but I'm not really blown away by that dilemma. Something about umbrellas not being that scary?

A bad start, but not unsalvageable, depending on where they go with it. I repeat again, I want to like this.

Now make me.

1Art - 1: The art, on the other hand, is pretty dingy and miserable. It conveys the story, I can't fault it for that, but it slows the script. There were points I had to backtrack to figure out what the hell was going on. Notably, when Nat just walks into the house after seeing crazy man, clunk. When he visited Erik, and I wasn't sure it wasn't Dale, clunk. When Natasha threw the door open and, because of the failure of angles, I couldn't tell that she wasn't ripping the door off (and even wrote, "Natasha rips the door off" in the review, which changed the whole story for me, actually, because then her later insane behavior was in current character, and thus I didn't realize it wasn't her in the end), clunk.

Most of it is sloppy, which can be arty when done right, here it convolutes the story. The coloring is also very pale, which ruins a lot of the moods. It attempts to do the "RED SCENE MEANS TENSE, BLUE MEANS CITY" thing really loudly, but it ends up obscuring what could have been good about the art.

I confused the coke bottle with a...water pipe when he was drinking it, to give you an idea.

5Cover Art - 5: I love it. This really geared me up for the book. I expected really, really cool stuff because of this cover. The angle, the characters.

Unfortunately, neither character gets into costume, the scene never happens, and the tone inside is dark and dingy, where the cover is bright and optimistic.


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Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2007

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