Infinite Horizon #1

Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Phil Noto
28? pages, color
Published by Image Comics

I am a sucker for Greek mythology. I grew up reading the stories as a child, and as an adult spent time studying the material in university, learning so much more than what the watered-down, sanitized versions of my childhood stories had shown. Maybe I’d just been oblivious, but I managed to completely miss the press roll-out for The Infinite Horizon, so it wasn’t until my second read-through that it finally sunk in—Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto had re-imagined Homer’s The Odyssey into present day times. And you know what? I’m doubly impressed with their efforts as a result.

An army Captain is released from lock-up in Syria after having punched a contractor. His men need him, in a desperate attempt to escape Syria. War has broken out across the globe; China invaded Taiwan and took out the world’s satellites with an EMP, and attacks just occurred on Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. There’s not even enough fuel to fly all the way back to Germany, so their only escape route is through Afghanistan. But can they make it even that far? And at the Captain’s home in the Catskill Mountains of New York, his wife Penelope tries to defend their land and son from the increasingly panicked men from the surrounding area, attempting to bring peace and calm to the area. But this time is full of anything but peace…

It would have been easy to do a straight re-telling of The Odyssey in a simple, direct format. It’s much to Duggan’s credit that he thought the idea through much more, though. It’s a little hard to buy someone taking ten years to get home under normal circumstances, these days, what with telecommunications and travel being what they are. Duggan’s setting the story amidst the outbreak of a global condition, then, is a smart choice. It gets a genuine reason for the Captain unable to immediately return home, or for that matter even be able to talk to his wife and let her know that he’s alive. By placing the story in Syria, it’s still set in the same basic area of the world that Troy was located, but there’s a much more immediate reaction these days to a war being in Syria versus Turkey. I’m very curious to see how future issues blend the more fantastical elements of The Odyssey into this modern-day narrative, but for now, it really works for me.

As for the story itself, it’s primarily set-up but in a good way. The Captain and his men’s escape from the military base in Syria is surprisingly tense, and came across as extremely realistic. You get a real sense for the Captain’s mind-set during this, both his desperation to get home and also his unwillingness to sacrifice his men or the civilians at the base to do so. Showing Penelope’s struggles at home serves as a nice mid-point break, too; by the end of her segment, you already understand why the Captain and she were married. She’s not the stereotypical damsel in distress, instead being the voice of reason and also clearly more than capable of taking care of herself. At the end of the first issue, I was more than a little intrigued by where the series would be going from here.

Noto’s art in The Infinite Horizon is attractive and pleasant; while I typically associate him with painted covers to other people’s books, his interior art here is extremely accomplished as well. He sticks with limited color palettes for each scene; the tan and blue scenes of Syria end up being an attractive combination that pops out at the reader, but it also serves as a nice contrast to the greens and purples of upstate New York. The line art itself is especially good in drawing people’s features, and while I can’t tell if the colors were actually painted on or are using a computer, but either way it’s a nice effect. My only real complaint is that while Noto is extremely good at portraits of people, some of the scenes with action seem a little stiff and too posed. Hopefully as the series progresses, the characters will be able to loosen up on the page.

The Infinite Horizon #1 is a strong debut. It’s interesting, it takes a classic piece of literature and does a smart job of adapting it to the present day, and it fully had my attention. I also appreciate that Duggan and Noto have made it a six-issue mini-series; knowing that it’s already been plotted out and that it as a series isn’t going to literally drag out for ten years (like Odysseus’s legendary journey from Troy to Ithaca). If you’re interested, as an added bonus you can now read the entire first issue online at Newsarama. With Eric Shanower transforming The Iliad into comics with Age of Bronze, it’s nice to have this counterpoint version of The Odyssey available as well. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of this series.

2 comments to Infinite Horizon #1