Written by Chad Strohl
Art by Kamil Boettcher, Lukasz Marko
Infinity: A Tale of the Inferno is an engrossing tale. Loosely based on The Divine Comedy, it can still be enjoyed by readers with scant knowledge of Dante. The protagonist, John Dante, is a man caught between two worlds, between his memories and his present, between redemption and descent. The graphic novel traces his journey into the underworld as he pursues his lost love.
Strohl’s writing is focused with none of the meandering common to metaphysical comics. The book is tightly plotted, each event unfolding in a chain of cause-and-effect. Dialogue is a strong point, used only in service of the narrative. Even more impressive, each character has a distinct way of speaking. This naturalistic approach to writing helps ground the more bizarre aspects of the story. Darker and more adult than many Caliber Comic titles, Infinity is not for the faint of heart. But for those who have dark tastes, it’s like a bloody steak. Satisfying yet leaves you wanting more.
Boettcher and Marko bring a cinematic approach to the visual layout. There’s a pleasing simplicity akin to that found in a storyboard. As befitting stylized artwork, each character is distinctive. A cool palette complements the aesthetic with the use of red to create tension or distinguish important characters.
The story explores loss and redemption without descending into clichés. The sense of despair is real as is the hope that follows. These themes – and the writer’s exploration of them – will resonate with many readers. Despite its horror elements, Infinity is what my late friend Thabiso would have called “an authentic book.” Just because it’s fantasy doesn’t mean that it’s not real.