Writer- Ryan Cady
Artist- Andrea Mutti
Colorist- K. Michael Russell
Letterer- Troy Peteri of a Larger World
The Universe has ended. The last 2,000 humans are on a space station called the Orpheus surrounded by crushing darkness and entropy. In an already dire situation, things get bleaker when a murder is committed on board.
I thought this would be a fun series to pick up because the premise of volume one is “murder mystery on a space station”. Which sounded super cool. In the end, that premise doesn’t matter a whole lot. This series falls more in the “hard” sci-fi category than I was expecting, but that isn’t a bad thing.
The story does have a murder that needs to be solved. That murder is just a plot device to introduce the more complicated aspects of the story. What this story is really about is “the end”. The universe has gone through heat death, or entropy and the crew of the Orpheus are all that remains of life in the universe. So, the story is more of a philosophical contemplation about how a group of humans would handle being alone in the universe, while also facing the ever-encroaching end of everything.
That is a lot to throw at your audience. Especially when you spend a lot of time also talking about entropy and how the space stations shielding works. Which is why I would consider this more of hard sci-fi. It’s not completely inaccessible though. The series starts off like a horror movie. One of those films where you have a group of people trapped in an isolated location and it turns out one of them is a murderer. Walking through that familiar idea makes all of the overwhelming stuff easier to digest.
If you like stories like that then this one is very good. My only problem is that in the first volume the pacing felt off. To me, everything happened to quickly to create the tension the creators seemed to be going for. That might just be because of how I read it though. I read everything in one go. So, I didn’t have time to stop and process what happened, I just moved on to the next part of the story. Volume 2 I feel has better pacing. It feels less like you’re being hit hard and fast by everything that’s going on. There’s time to get to know the characters and understand the situation they’re in before the story moves onto the next point.
With the improved pacing, the horror aspect works a lot better for me. It’s a lot easier to feel the tension and fear. Which is pretty unnerving. The existential dread of what happens at “the end” is very powerful. I have read stories were, in the end, it’s about giving up and giving in to that fear. Infinite Dark isn’t one of those stories though. The main character, Deva Karrell, is constantly at odds with that fear but isn’t defeated by it. She refuses to give up without a fight and it’s inspiring to both the people around her and the audience.
There are a lot of things to be afraid of, but we don’t have to give in to that fear.