Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Infinite Vacation #4

Written by Nick Spencer
Art by Christian Ward and Kendall Bruns

Fine, this comic is really late, but it is totally worth it.  Nick Spencer's star has definitely risen since he started publishing this mini-series in January of 2011, and he has been writing some very good comics (Morning Glories, Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger, THUNDER Agents, and Thief of Thieves) and a couple of okay ones (Ultimate Comics X-Men).  It's easy to understand why this title, more than any other, may have slipped through the cracks, because it is much more complex than anything else, with the possible exception of the multi-layered tapestry that is Morning Glories.

The Infinite Vacation (last seen in November) posits a multiverse where people are able to swap realities with their alternate counterparts, or visit them whenever they wish with the use of computers or a mobile phone app.  Mark, our hero, has been targeted by the people who run the Infinite Vacation for extermination, for reasons I don't remember.  He has been helped by some of his alternates (ie. Hacker Mark and Nude Mark), but is also being pursued by himself (Psycho Cannibal Mark).  He has sought refuge with the Singularists, a religious group that avoids the Vacation, and who stay in their birth reality all their lives.

In this issue, Mark comes face to face with his psychotic other, and flees, leaving behind the Singularist that he is falling for.  He ends up in a reality where he has had just about the best life he could hope for, and within that, he finds new strength and direction, something he has never really had before.  Most of this issue is spent building up to next issue's big conclusion, and I hope that the momentum I felt here carries forward for however many months it takes for the next issue to come out.

While Spencer does some interesting work with this series, exploring the various consequences and ramifications of this technology, it is Ward who really shines in this issue.  He's always had a bit of a psychedelic style to his art (think Brandon McCarthy mixed with Dustin Nguyen), but in this issue he gets to really cut loose with some interest page designs and layouts.  I especially like the double-page spread where Psycho Mark chases Mark and the girl around a Mobius strip.

I also like the way photography (provided by Kendall Bruns, who apparently doesn't get a credit on the cover) is integrated into this series whenever Spencer needs some space to explain some of the science fiction concepts he's playing it.  It works as a very strong contrast to Ward's crazy artwork.

This is a very cool series.

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