Thursday, January 20, 2011
The Infinite Vacation #1 - A Review
The Infinite Vacation is one of the most interesting comic books I’ve read in a long time. For something that tackles the well-worn concept of alternate realities, this is no small accomplishment.
Created by rising star Nick Spencer and Christian Ward, the Infinite Vacation takes place in a world where a few dollars and a phone app allow you to jump into a different version of your life in any alternate reality. The differences in these worlds can be as subtle as a pretty girl in a coffee shop walks over to talk to you instead of leaving or as drastic as instead of playing your Xbox, you have been elected President of the United States.
Our window into this world is Mark, a worker drone who averages almost 10 changes to his realities a day and is one of the highest users of this program in the country. Yet despite all this, he’s bored out of his mind. Eventually, alternate versions of Mark start to die at a surprisingly high rate and Mark becomes convinced that something is off.
What makes the Infinite Vacation so impressive is that it manages to convey the insanity of the book’s core concept, while simultaneously making it is a plausible fit into our everyday world. We’re treated to gorgeous, surreal spreads that effectively communicate the variety of an infinite multiverse, but before all that, we’re given a multi page advertisement for the Infinite Vacation product that could have come out of any infomercial or corporate board meeting.
Nick Spencer deserves immense credit for making a book about alternate realities interesting at all. This is a concept that is a favorite of science fiction writers, and positively a stand by in superhero comics. This year alone, we have at least two major superhero events that are based on alternate worlds. By making the concept of going to another universe basically the same as dating online, Spencer not only comes up with an interesting new take on this concept, but grounds it in the kind of one-year-from-now world that some of the most successful science fiction takes place in.
None of this would be as effective without Christian Ward’s art. Utterly surreal, the book’s art helps convey the variety and complexity of an infinite multiverse, without losing touch with the everyday world of our protagonist. Ward also deserves credit for the opening advertising sequence. Using photographs and computer graphics, it helps not only explain the rules of the world we’re entering, but it helps sell the reader on the idea that in this world, traveling to other universes is a service to be bought and sold on your phone.
I am so tired of stories about alternate realities, I almost didn’t check out this book, but I’m glad I did. Spencer and Ward have created one of the most unique comics on the market today and I can’t wait for issue two.