The noir genre has always been hard to pin down, and its subsequent predecessor, neo-noir, only furthers the confusion. Yet, like a man once said, “you know it when you see it.” Taken from the French word meaning “darkness” or “of the night,” noir fiction features downtrodden characters imbued with disillusionment, pessimism, and anguish. Infinite Dark draws from all the expected elements noir has to offer and combines it with a cataclysmic scientific twist and space horror.
Entropy has taken hold of the known universe; the infinite nothing festers across the expanse of space, and what remains of humanity is left to survive on a desolate ship struggling to face the inevitable end.
Deva Harrell is the Security Director of The Orpheus, a spaceship roaming the nothingness containing the last of humankind. Deva is charged with maintaining order and holding together the semblance of humanity that remains. Within two short issues, writer Ryan Cady has established Deva as a non-nonsense enforcer, struggling with survivor’s remorse. She witnessed the massive explosion of the majority of Earth’s surviving space caravans, leaving her to come to terms with her emotions.
Interestingly enough, the expansion of entropy isn’t the crew’s greatest threat. The mystery of the series kicks off when the Orpheus’ Tech Director murders his neighbor, the very first crime of this nature the Orpheus has to deal with. Deva finds herself going deeper into the rabbit hole. Her fellow directors hide secrets crucial to the ships very survival, the director’s assistant knows more than she is letting on, and anyone exposed to “the entropy” is affected mentally.
Issue one served as an introduction to this unique world; issue two digs deeper into the crime. Every new revelation adds a new thread but doesn’t provide answers this early in the game. The audience is never left with feelings of frustration; instead, the desire to continue reading burns bright.
Cady’s writer is aware and deliberate. Every word is worth scrutinizing. Best of all is his depiction of Deva. Readers are cued in on her thoughts through third-person narration. Narration can be a crutch, but it serves well to allow readers to glean a sense of Deva’s personality. On the outside she will issue a commanding order, all the while questioning her decision via her inner monologue. One example of an obvious yet poignant metaphor is the ship’s very name: the Orpheus. in Greek mythology, Orpheus was a poet/musician who entered the underworld to retrieve his dead wife. Interesting callback, or a prophecy of things to come?
What would a horror/noir/sci-fi be without gloomy art to facilitate the story? Artist Andrea Mutti sets the tone and is heavy on the shadows. A character’s eyes may be cast in darkness as they deliver a chilling monologue, or the depth and breadth of space can take on a life of its own in his art. Colorist K. Michael Russel furthers the gravitas of every scene. The Orpheus, the vastness of space, and the virtual reality therapy are all perfectly executed.
Infinite Dark isn’t for everyone. Those looking for an action-packed “blow-em-up,” this isn’t for you. The story can meander at times, and there are plenty of monologues and back and forth discourse. However, for readers looking for a deep mystery that continues to brim with anticipation for the next reveal, Infinite Dark is the horror mystery you’re looking for.
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