When I first heard that Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier’s series The Infinite Loop had been licensed by IDW, I was immediately intrigued. For one thing, this series is a Bande Dessinée (BD), a French-language comic. We in the USA are just starting to get a real grip on the breadth and depth of the BD industry. International comics shows that specialize in cross-cultural exchange, such as Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Tokyo International Comics Festival and Angoulême International Comics Festival are making it easier than ever before for fans and creators to reach past borders and get to know the broader range of comics globally.
In addition, The Infinite Loop is a science fiction series. I know I’ve mentioned this from time to time, but when I was in my early years of reading all the lesbian literature I could find, a great deal of it was science fiction. The speculative nature of that genre and fantasy were comforting to LGBTQ writers who were not yet afforded a place on bookstore shelves. In recent years, LGBTQ sci-fi and fantasy have been vital and thriving…but not so much in comics. Scifi particularly, and comics have mixed less than one might suppose, given the crossover fandom.
So, yay, a BD about a lesbian that is a sci-fi story! Win, win, win.
Teddy is a time traveler, whose job it is to clean up time anomalies, left by tourists and terrorists and anyone fucking with the time stream. Agents have a relatively short shelf-life, as infinite possibilities and selves play havoc with their sanity and Teddy is the agent who has been active the longest. Teddy’s good at getting rid of anomalies, until she encounters one that looks like a beautiful woman who is in danger. Teddy immediately protects her and takes ‘Ano’ to safety.
Teddy’s partner is Ulysses, a meaty guy with an overt crush on his partner. But he’s put in a very tight spot when Teddy violates the rules.
The art is adorable in a retro futuristic way, almost Jetson-y. The color palette is vibrant. I love the panel design, the crazy paving works especially well when Teddy is having schizophrenic conversations with herself, or multiple things are happening simultaneously in various timelines.
I generally like the story, and will certainly read it to the end, but there are some problematic areas. Of these, the first real problem is something I can only express as a “man writing a lesbian as if she were a female-shaped man.” Now, I am aware that there are crass, vulgar women on the planet, but of the lesbians I myself know, none of us are in the habit of referring to other women as having “nice boobs” except, perhaps, in bed. There is a male-gazeness about Teddy that grates on me ever so slightly. This continues throughout, with dialogue that is supposed to be cutesy, sexy jokes, but just come off as icky-making, eye-rolling double entendre’s. I’ll hope that the humor was merely lost in translation. The writer himself outs himself in the afterword, so it is not an issue of “straight guy writing lesbian wrong,” just a guy writing lesbian oddly. ^_^
This is a small, but persistent irritation, but not my biggest complaint. And even this is not “big” it just really stands out. On Twitter I commented “Writers, please do not introduce characters for the sole purpose of treating them badly to prove the bad guys are bad. It’s weaksauce.” And, in a nutshell, that’s the problem. Spender and Prospekt are the bad guys (so far). They are two more meaty guys who arrive on the scene with a load of misogynist, homophobic and transphobic insults, this way we know they are bad people. Then they kill a perfectly innocent person so we know they are really bad. Really, really bad. Yeah, we got it. They could have been multi-faceted, complex characters, instead they are just two-dimensional violent sociopaths who have somehow made it to the top of the organization, while Teddy, who is at least as skilled, is persecuted for her relationship. I think I’ve read this one before.
Once again I find myself wishing this was in manga page count, rather than western comics “squeeze the story in quickly, then spend 4 pages on a sex scene! Hurry Hurry!” mode.
The Infinite Loop is not yet available as a single volume, but the collected volume is being released in December 2015, it is listed on the Yuricon Store. I’m reading individual issues on Kindle. (Issues 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5| 6 TBD). The kindle app breaks the complicated panels up for slightly easier reading, but also allows a full page mode to see the full effect. Overall, a very decent reading experience.
Art – 8
Character – 8
Story – 7, could be higher, depending on the resolution
Service – 7 there is a sex scene
Yuri – 8
Despite minor distractions, there are some genuinely interesting turns of the story. As I say, I’m still reading and looking forward to the resolution.