The Infinite Vacation

Nick Spencer is quickly becoming one of my favorite comic authors.  His dialogue is generally crisp and witty, but what he’s really got going for him is the concepts behind his work.  I’ve already talked about Morning Glories and how much I love it – even though the concept of an evil boarding school isn’t shockingly original.  The fact of the matter is, the characters, the mysteries, and the dialogue (AKA the execution) more than make up for that fact.

The Infinite Vacation, however, is shockingly original – at least as far as I know.  The idea, in essence, is that technology has advanced to the point of allowing you to buy access to another version of yourself in a parallel universe.  To see what your life would be like if you had gone to a different college, or dated Susan instead of Lucy (or whatever).  At the center of the story is Mark, a regular guy who drifts from life to life, never really messing them up so much as allowing them to sink into mediocrity.  He is constantly dissatisfied with whatever life he buys his way into, and rather than working to fix it, just buys another.

Through Mark we learn that there are people out there who morally oppose this whole “body-swapping” thing, and that somehow, more of his alternate selves seem to be dying than they should.

I have no doubt that there is a mystery a-brewin’ here, and it seems to be intriguing.  There also seems to be a potential romance that seems destined to be fraught with difficulty.  And all that is great.  But really, at the end of the day, I’ll be coming back to this series to see how (or even if) Mark begins to grow up, to take life by the horns, and become a man.  That’s what kept me coming back to Y: The Last Man, and it’s why I continue to read X-Factor after six years.

I will say that there was a sequence of pages that used real photography instead of drawn art that was somewhat… jarring.  I think I understand the reasoning behind it, to make it seem more real, more like a commercial, to immerse the reader in the advertising experience the characters no doubt have.  But it was still jarring, and took me out of the story more than putting me in it.  I admire the guts to try it though.

So thank you Nick Spencer for continuing to fill the comic-sphere with more originality.  It certainly needs it.

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