It has been nearly 5 years the first and final issues of The Infinite Horizon, but the wait has been worth it. Thankfully, fans of the series don’t have to wait that long for the collect works to hit shelves. Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto’s modern retelling of the Greek epic The Odyssey will be available in a trade paperback this Wednesday, April 11 from Image Comics.
The story is about the Captain, a man who serves the US military faithfully and without question. While fulfilling his duties, he and his team are taken on a whirlwind of an adventure, one that he vows will see him finally returning home by the end. But his plan does not always go as expected, and he runs into trouble at every turn.
Duggan’s knowledge of The Odyssey is evident as he adapts the poem’s most memorable scenes. When the Captain commandeers a boat, he and his team are over run by pirates, left floating in a raft for days. The song of the siren comes in the form of a holy mission whose message gets broadcast through the radio. Their goal is to attract a team of workers with promises of returning home, using them to repair an old oil rig. The only time Duggan travels into the realm of the fantastic is with his version of the Cyclops, a one-man army sporting upper-body armor and a monocular lens that allows him to scan and focus his surroundings.
Back at home, the Captain’s wife and child must be strong in the face of their own dangers. The world they live in is not the world we know. Set in the future, the streets of New York City are under water and the remaining citizens rely on the clean water that flows from the Catskill Mountains. The Captain’s wife, Penelope (a name taken directly from The Odyssey) and their son Terrence live in the mountains along the river, they have full control over the water. Their neighbors are not fair and honest people, and eventually, with the help of a big city gangster, they over run her land and hold them hostage, finally able to control the water for themselves.
Phil Noto’s artwork is, without a doubt, perfect for this story. His linework is raw and abrasive, completely in-your-face on almost every page. Just the look of the pages is unsettling, which meshes well with the violence of Duggan’s plot. The style also symbolizes the Captain’s confusion and uncertainty of his mission. As the book progresses, and the Captain begins to understand his situation better, the artwork becomes clearer and more detailed.
Noto often renders his panels and characters monochromatically, similar to the way a cinematographer would add a color gel to their lighting while filming a movie. This technique helps to add an emotional element to a somewhat stagnant scene and adds even more emotion to an already tense situation.
One notable thing about The Infinite Horizon is the intense violence it portrays. Granted, being based on a Greek epic poem, readers should expect this. After all, Greek mythology is full of graphic violence, especially where the gods are concerned. (Cronus devouring his children, anyone?) But given much of the cruelty that Duggan writes into the script, one has to wonder if this is a reflection of his beliefs. The introduction of the collection relates a story of Duggan’s father and his distaste for war. Having fought in Vietnam, he vowed, humorously, that his son would have no part in the first Gulf War. The violence in The Infinite Horizon is, at times, very real and very shocking, so much so that it makes me wonder if the story is Duggan’s own anti-war protest, mirroring his father’s opinion of unnecessary conflict.
I love Greek mythology, so to read this story is really a joy. Though I imagined it would have a few, more literal nods to the source material, I was pleasantly surprised with Duggan’s take. He manages to ground the poem in reality, telling the story from a “This could actually happen” point of view. And while I wouldn’t consider myself to be a squeamish person, there were a few points of in the story that made me wince a little. Duggan pulls no punches in his storytelling, and Noto is certainly there to ensure that the images have as great an impact as possible. All in all, The Infinite Horizon is the kind of story that will easily join the ranks of other big comic book tales, like The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen.