Eric’s Image Comics Review: INFINITE VACATION #3
"In an infinite variation of universes, there must be a universe where there is only one universe." If that sentence brings about headaches, then Infinite Vacation #3 might not be for you. For everyone else, it is an experience like no other with smarts, wit, and a bizarre sexual situation.
Infinite Vacation #3 is less a comic and more a narrative experiment of existential philosophy in mixed media. Scientists have discovered that subatomic particles can indeed reside in two places at once. With no small amount of talent, Nick Spencer takes these properties into his thought process and writing. He is seemingly tangential and, also, focused in every page of this book with a wild imagination, witty execution, and also a driven message. On the latter facet, the writer tackles religion this issue by asking if a place in which interconnected universe is reality, what role does an individual Divine plan play when all possibilities are represented at once. While he does indeed take a few jabs at the religious establishment (as represented in the comic), the book takes a Descartian stance near its end. It's almost as if readers get a chance to hear out the arguments of the “I think therefore I am” French philosopher and Stephen Hawking within the course of the plot. It's extremely smart and pretty well packaged. The plot is pretty clear and the characters are written in a way that allows for enough exposition to get new readers caught up. Each character is defined enough that even a perverted cannibal with an obsession with eating other versions of himself finds a place among the orderly chaos going on.
The greatest strength of Infinite Vacation #3 is also its weakness, which is its lack of passivity. To get everything out of this comic, a reader needs to involve his/herself in Spencer's mental mind game and the questions that it throws out. There is some truly funny elements within, but the selling point is in pushing the central concept to its extreme. A singular existence is filled with questions of meaning and missed opportunities. It's enough to give someone a headache. Multiply that an endless amount of times and one can see how this book won't be universally accessible. That doesn't make it bad, but it necessitates a bit of warning for those not wanting a puzzle. For those willing to forgo caution and reach its depths (including a mocked up research report), Infinite Vacation can be a rewarding and immersive experience that warrants discussion and thought after the issue is put down. Those looking for something that is more purely entertainment based might want to look elsewhere.
Christian Ward's art is beautiful and it's a shame that we don't see more vibrant work like this in more comics. The watercolors are almost neon as they radiate off the page. It reminds me quite a bit of Jill Thompson's work on the Sandman character Delirium. It's always visually interesting with a great use of color to set the mood of a scene. It's one of the most stunning and dynamic looking books in the market right now. Making their return from the preceding issue are photographed panels. To get the cheesiness of a religious advertisement, it looks as if the creative team chose several stock photos for hilarious results. It's a risk that brings solid returns as it continues the aforementioned immersion.
I love Infinite Vacation, but it's very hard to recommend on a universal basis. It's brilliant and engaging, but requires effort from the reader for that to be fully realized. Personally, my biggest disappointment was reading that I'll have to wait until April 27 for issue #4.
Story: Nick Spencer
Art: Christian Ward
Cover: Christian Ward
On Sale November 2, 2011!