Panel to Panel (Infinite Dark Issue 1)
Space and its infinite expansiveness has served as a font of inspiration for a variety of forms of entertainment over the years. Alongside advancements and discoveries made with exploration of its seemingly endless horizons, authors, artists, and directors have all used it as a place to tell stories of unknown horrors, escapism, and grandiose discovery. The first installment of the collaboration between Ryan Cady (Writer), Andrea Mutti (Artist), K.Michael Russell (Color Artist), and Troy Peteri (Letter Artist) known as Infinite Dark serves as the start of a new entry within the science fiction genre with a focus on humanity and survival within the final frontier.
From its opening panels, the first issue of Infinite Dark explores the concepts of survival within Space and how humanity changes in the face of disastrous loss in such a cold, unforgiving, and mysterious environment. As readers, we are immediately introduced to Director Deva Karrell and the crew of the Orpheus, the last remaining bastion of humanity located at the edge of the universe two years after a cataclysmic series of events that ultimately resulted in the death of the majority of humankind. Interestingly enough, rather than shrouding the extinction event in mystery, we are treated to a visually graphic and visceral retelling of the disaster told through the memories and reflections of Deva as she talks to the onboard A.I. known as Smith. Through this opening exchange, it becomes clear that the director of the Orpheus is still weighed down by survivor’s guilt as she works to steer humanity in a positive direction within a physical reminder of her shortcomings.
Moving past this introduction, the conflict quickly presents itself in the form of a kidnapping that calls for the assembly of an elite investigative team led by the director herself to a desolate and abandoned portion of the Orpheus known as “The Dark Sector”. Cliché names aside however, it’s within these moments that some of the major themes that Infinite Dark will seemingly look to tackle present themselves. The descent into the abandoned part of the Orpheus presents the reader with questions on the unknown, both the willingness/reluctance to accept it, and on the true importance of preservation of societal norms in the wake of such a cataclysmic event.
Moreover, as Deva and her team chase their kidnapper through the empty city streets, back alleys, and abandoned ruins of the “Dark Sector” the truly visceral and sharp artistic stylings of Mutti and Russel are on full display. It’s throughout this chase sequence that it becomes clear that the artistic duo has an absolute mastery over dynamic illustration, contrast, and shadow as each panel explodes with movement and emotion as the issue pushes forward towards its climax. Coupled together with Cady’s attention to detail, this second half of the issue really made me feel locked into Deva’s state of mind as she expresses exactly how she’s feeling about the bleak state of affairs aboard the Orpheus, her frustration with the other members of the board, as well as containing her own rage and grief for the sake of the “greater good”.
Ultimately, Top Cow’s first installment of Infinite Dark was something that hooked me right from the beginning with its refreshing take on a familiar setting, compelling lead character, and the issues its presents. It is definitely a series that I’d recommend to fans of science fiction and horror and with Halloween right around the corner it really released at a perfect time. I can’t wait to see where the creative team over at Top Cow takes this series in its exploration of being the last survivors in an unforgiving environment and how Deva evolves as a character as she is exposed to the unknown mysteries and truths that await her within the “Infinite Dark”.
All Images and Quotes courtesy of Top Cow Productions and the links below.