Written & Lettered by Pierrick Colinet
Illustrated & Coloured by Elsa Charretier
Do you like your romance with some sort of time loop? Do you also like it to say something about the current state of the world? And do you like it hopeful? Then you might like The Infinite Loop.
Originally published in French, IDW released the English translation back in 2015 a time when things were not great for the LGBTQ + community, but there’s some areas where it feels we’ve gone backward in the last 5 and half years. As a result The Infinite Loop is as relevant today as it was several years ago, perhaps more so given the messages it is trying to convey.
There are messages in here hidden, or perhaps not so hidden, amongst what is, at its heart one woman’s love for an anomaly. An anomaly called Ano (Ano-maly you see) who gives Teddy, someone who had previously been dedicated to erasing anomalies, something to believe in and someone to love. Ano also happens to be female and she turns Teddy’s world upside down and inside out.
The first few issues of The Infinite Loop are dedicated to building Teddy as a character and her relationship with Ano. We get a good idea of who Teddy is before she meets Ano at the end of issue one, before she makes the madcap choice to save the girl, save the anomaly, save Ano.
However, once we are about four issues in the whole infinite time loop starts to play out. The first thing to say is the science here is science fiction but it’s built more on metaphor and philosophy than actual science. If you are expecting an explanation of time travel, alternate realties and time anomalies in the shape of people you may be disappointed because this book isn’t about the science behind time events, it’s about the people caught up in them, or created by them.
Teddy is a lesbian and her orientation is important. However, what’s also important is that Ano is not only her female love interest but also an anomaly. The anomalies stand in for the LGBTQ+ community, even as several of them embody parts of that community, such as the genderqueer teenage anomaly who appears later on. The struggle of the anomalies to be seen as people directly mirrors the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community.
That’s the heart of this metaphor. Anomalies exist and they want the right to exist. They can’t help what they are any more than those who identify as LGBTQ+ can. And the right to be recognised and exist, exists for both the fictional anomalies and the real world community celebrating this Pride month.
Not to mention that we have Teddy’s colleague Ulysses who plays the part of an ally. He starts off hostile but he becomes supportive. His is a very natural progression and it never feels forced. He fits the role naturally.
There’s also a lot of metaphors here. There’s Teddy’s self reflection as we see her fall through time, into her own past through time loops. We see her past and present selves argue. We see the events that brought her to this point from her childhood to the present day. It’s very jumbled but that make sense as people are very jumbled inside.
It goes without saying that there’s also nudity and there is a scene of lovemaking but it’s tenderly realised. What works really well with it is that the characters are focused on themselves. It’s entirely about them not the reader.
The art all the way through is impressive. Everything flows together really well. The various Teddys are easily identifiable which is great as there are pages where many of them are in the frame. The way the anomalies work in the prison in the department works well too and the way they glitch. I especially like the flowcharts as Teddy has to make choices. You can follow along with her choices and the consequences. It also asks the reader what sort of choice would you make?
It’s a pretty book and some of the pages are frankly wonderfully mind-bending in what they depict as Teddy slips in and out of her time stream. It’s very clever and very fun to read.
There’s no neat resolution here only a promise of something more and that feels entirely fitting. There are no easy solutions to the problems faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Unlike Teddy we can’t simply reboot the world (and even Teddy finds that she might be able to reboot it, but there’s still work to be done).
Ultimately though the message of The Infinite Loop is Pride. Choose Pride. Choose Pride and live it. A very positive message indeed. Reboot the loop.