The Infinite Loop Nothing But the Truth 1 Turns to the Opioid Crisis

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The original Infinite Loop series was pretty transparent: it was a sci-fi crusade for the rights and acceptance of LGBTQ folks. That was thinly draped in allegory: Ano wasn’t a target because she was gay, but because she was a time-travel anomaly. But the themes of tolerance and gay rights were prevalent and obvious, presented with a sci-fi veneer that was often better enjoyed than actually understood. I was trying to explain the series to our own Ryan Mogge last night, and while I had the themes and characters totally nailed down, I had a hell of a time trying to recall the plot. Nothing But The Truth firms up some of those logical conundrums while shifting its focus to another group caught in an infinite loop: those effected by the opioid crisis.

While Teddy may have made it safe for anomalies to live in the present day, they’re still be rounded up and kept in internment camps. (Which, gotta say: not that safe.) Surprisingly, this is not the actual crux of this issue. Writers Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier are taking it as a forgone conclusion that this is a monstrous way to treat people, and the real conflict comes in how to actually affect change in their lives. Ano has become a Congress Woman impotently campaigning to shut down these camps, while Teddy acts like a secret agent, illegally helping anomalies evade capture. My favorite insight from the issue is Teddy’s line of narration: “Politics and outlaw activism don’t mix too well. Obviously.” Colinet and Charretier pointedly don’t really take a side in this argument — both Ano and Teddy hit insurmountable roadblocks everywhere they turn.

Of course, Teddy’s roadblocks make for the more fun story to read, so let’s focus on that! Artist Daniele di Nicuolo takes over from Charretier, and while his layouts may not have the same mind bending qualities as Charretier’s, he more than makes up for it in clarity. Early in the issue, Teddy’s trip to the rogue anomalies’ whereabouts is interrupted by g-men in a suped-up black time-travel car. It’s the first action-packed scene in the issue, and di Nicuolo sets it up beautifully by first presenting the consequence of the action, complete with requisite confusion.

I love the messy reading order of those four middle panels. How do you read them? I think the right order is top-left, bottom-left, top-right, bottom-right, but the panel shapes suggest the top row and then the bottom row. We’re trying to piece together at the same time Teddy is.

Once Teddy arrives at her destination, the series’ target changes solidifies. This small Appalachian town is overrun with people plugged into nostalgia headsets prescribed to them by “The Doctor.” Everyone is addicted to this prescription, and since this seems to be disproportionately effecting the poor, the parallels to opioid abuse are clear as hell. Colinet and Charretier waste no time in drawing a line between the opioid criss and the themes already baked into this series by having a character describe the “infinite loop” these addicts are trapped in. Instead of being driven by fear, this loop runs of greed. It’s a clear new mission statement for the series, and I can’t wait to see what exactly this team has to say about.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

One comment on “The Infinite Loop Nothing But the Truth 1 Turns to the Opioid Crisis

  1. I read the Infinite Loop recently, and really enjoyed it. Wonderfully beautiful thematically, though I understadn the struggles of the actual plot. Though I think I can remember the plot. Ultimately, a lot of the difficulties with the exact logic become a lot easier to understand when you think about them as infinite loops. All the alternate timelines etc make a lot more sense when you look at every sci fi element as a literalisation of an infinite loop that needs to be broken/fought. You really, really need to be able to connect theme and plotting to get your head round it.

    Looking forward to reading this one, when it is completed. And happy Ano seems to have more to do. My biggest problem with Infinite Loop was Ano felt a bit underwritten for a story all about asserting her humanity. Too often, she felt like merely a fantasy for Teddy. Making the fight for civil rights more about Teddy than it was the woman actually discriminated against (I know that it was a metaphor for LGBT rights, which means Teddy does have skin in the game, but it was also a metaphor for discrimination in general, with each instance of the loop being a new persecution. And the specifics of this particular loop would be more comparable to something like interracial marriage were it not for the fact that, quite rightly, they really wanted to emphasise LGBT rights).

    Also, love the idea of shifting into different grounds with the opioid crisis. The concept of the Infinite Loop is so good, that applying it to a range of different topics is perfect. There are so many Infinite Loops in society, and so much this series can explore using that metaphor

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