Friday, September 07, 2007

Notes To The Editor: "Infinity Inc." #1

Dear Editor,

Here are some notes on the first issue of your new book "Infinity, Inc."

1) The first page of this book starts with a flashback. Don't start a book with a flashback. You don't emotionally grab the readers that way. Now, have you had started the book with page 2, with Natasha running away from the menace, that would have seized the readers' attention more and make them care about her immediately.

2) Every right-handed page should give the reader the incentive to turn the page. But you have many right-handed pages in this story end with the character appearing on the porch and going "oh" and stuff like that.

3) Please don't feel afraid to ask your writer for edits. I know somebody like Peter Milligan is a bit of a "name" and all that, but sometimes even "names" need editing.

4) There are many scenes in this book with people in offices talking. Don't you get enough of being in offices and talking at your job?

5) Looking over artist Max Fiumara's great work in books like Warren Ellis's "Blackgas" and so on, I am at a loss to explain how the art in "Infinity Inc." turned out the way it did. Can you figure it out? Did he have a really tight deadline so the book could tie-in with the latest "Countdown"? Or is the color palette not really complementing Max's work?

6) Speaking of the color, there are times reading "Infinity Inc" #1 where I feel the colorist might have been rushed. Like when the analyst has hair, a shirt, and is sitting on a couch that is all roughly the same shade of violet. Had the look of this book been "monochromatic irony," I could see how such color choices would work. But I do not know if that is the look you were going for here.

7) The cover, showing Steel in full costume and Natasha flying, spoke of the optimism and joy of having powers and being a superhero. Yet the story inside was dark, dismal, depressing, slow, and hardly had anybody using their powers at all in any exciting way. I feel like the cover lied.

8) Who the hell are these characters? Why should I care about them?

9) Decompressed storytelling works best when you have Bryan Hitch or Olivier Coipel drawing your book and you have an enormous budget for color & effects. For a smaller-scale production such as this, which seems to be going for a more "Vertigo" vibe, you really need a more solid, traditional storytelling style. Yeah, I'm sure "it will all read better in the trade" -- if it ever gets to be a trade.

10) What audience are you exactly going for, here? With the actiony "Steel" cover it would appear that you are going for Superman fans or fans of DC Universe books in general. But then the story itself is packed full of this talky moody Vertigoey sort of material. And then you have the extra layer of the history the name "Infinity Inc." brings with it, seemingly underlined by the inclusion of Nuklon -- JSA stuff. I ask again, who is your intended audience?

In conclusion, I do not feel that "Infinity Inc." really lives up either to the name or Steel's legacy or its Vertigo-like pretensions. To be frank, I am utterly baffled by it. You have produced such good books in the past, and I just cannot comprehend what has happened as of late to produce such a bad stretch. A few more suggestions/comments:

a) Are you getting enough time to turn these books around?

b) Trying to force these new series and events to fit into the overall "Countdown" framework doesn't seem to really help their quality. It is not an organic blend into the tie-ins, but more like a stiff, sloppy plug-in patchwork.

c) I would just dump the pseudo-Vertigo elements and just really make this a "Steel" book. That's what the fans really want to see. They want to see a really good book featuring John Henry Irons & Natasha. They would also like to see an "Infinity Inc" reboot, but one that picks up the legacy of the JSA. Mixing the JSA & Steel mythologies doesn't work for me.



  1. It was in my hands, & I must have read it, but for some reason I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth?

  2. SOOOOO glad I didn't pick this up! I don't know why they thought people wanted a book spun from the most boring of the 52 sub-plots.

  3. The concepts are intriguing but, the execution is not.
    And it truly bears no connection to the original Infinity Inc, but might still play well as a continuation of "Team Luthor".

  4. 3) Please don't feel afraid to ask your writer for edits. I know somebody like Peter Milligan is a bit of a "name" and all that, but sometimes even "names" need editing.

    But it's obviously DC's editorial policy these days not to edit "name" writers. Meltzer wants to say Aquaman I is alive again? Sure, why not? Bedard picks the wrong woman to be Green Arrow's mom? Sorry, too busy defending Countdown to bother looking stuff up. Waid says Wally West got back before Bart Aleen died, even though that contradicts what we were told earlier? Hey, you're the writer, baby.

    DC has no editors, just men with shiny name plates on their desks.

  5. I have to admit enjoying it, but Milligan almost always works for me.

  6. I thought the beginning was a dream sequence seque into the the real world talking about the dream, which is a perfectly respectable device I think.

    It was the only part of the book that was even halfway decent.