"The Infinite Loop" #1 sets up for quite a cool series to come -- it just takes a while to get there. After a slick, breezy introduction to Teddy, her coworker Ulysses and their work managing time anomalies, the issue finally opens up its central conflict in the last two pages. Though Elsa Charretier's artwork is lovely and Pierrick Colinet's dialogue moves swiftly and believably, readers would be forgiven for feeling that the first issue of "The Infinite Loop" reads a bit generically. Luckily, there's plenty of promise for the series to come, and the artwork should have any fans of fast-moving science fiction excited.
Charretier's layouts are fast-paced and inventive, so that even a long car drive or chat in a diner feels dynamic. She hops perspectives to create motion where there isn't any, and her choice of details often surprised and intrigued me. Teddy and Ulysses don't have particularly inventive character designs but, aside from a few stilted poses for Teddy, they both move effortlessly across the page. The result is a graceful, visually interesting book.
Still, call me a plebe, but the story is at its most entertaining when Charretier and Colinet create a time-traveling T-Rex attack. They both have a lot of fun with the visual language of science and science fiction, using graphs, flowcharts and nitpicky labels to overlay what is otherwise a straightforward action sequence. They use this method throughout; explanations of the time stream are bound in an infinity symbol, Teddy and Ulysses slide down mathematical models and city skylines fade into optical illusions. Both Charretier's layouts and Colinet's lettering create these images, and their work coheres seamlessly. Charretier also plays with the time travel theme of the book, using a two-page time lapse spread before any time travel has even happened. It's a great example of comics' unique visual storytelling abilities.
However, the script feels very familiar. Teddy's hard-boiled disbelief in love, Ulysses' awkward pining for her and their almost-kiss are all elements I've seen before, and they're neither nuanced nor original enough here to differentiate themselves. That said, Colinet does a fine job establishing the rules of this world without the dialogue feeling too much like an info dump, and the reader understands immediately why Teddy and Ulysses wouldn't work together. The hard work of a first issue is accomplished so handily and efficiently that it almost doesn't feel like much has happened.
Of course, "The Infinite Loop" doesn't read like hard science fiction. Colinet and Charretier are much more interested in the human consequences than the theoretical ones, so readers who dislike "soft" sci-fi might not enjoy this one. There aren't many technical explanations to be had, and the reader has to take most of the science at face value.
Glossy and confident, "The Infinite Loop" #1 has me looking forward to issue #2. Though I wish this issue dove a bit more into Teddy and the anomaly, it's certainly built my anticipation for that encounter. This is a lovely addition to the science fiction landscape.