RECAP/REVIEW: The Infinite Loop #2 – “The Anomaly”
The last time we saw Teddy she was falling for the female anomaly. This issue continues right where we left off.
Teddy is deliberating on what to do with the anomaly, with four other imaginary versions of herself (in her words, versions of who she could have been.) Her new feelings of love are reflected in the newest persona; a Disney-princess-like chirping character. Her training tells her to immediately erase the girl – anomalies have unforeseen consequences on the future after all – but her heart says otherwise.
This comic is refreshing as it suggests there are long-term consequences to time travel. Usually in sci-fi, people can travel to wherever they want and return to their own time as if nothing had ever happened.
Teddy, who has been doing her job for four years, uses these different versions of herself as a coping mechanism. After receiving some helpful (and not so helpful) advice from herself, she decides to save the girl. In the next scene, we’re introduced to the team who’ve been sent after Teddy, because apparently she’s a fugitive now. It would have been nice if it had been made clear how Teddy had been found out so quickly; I thought maybe Ulysses had ratted her out, but he hides the only physical evidence of the girl anomaly’s existence from the members of the team, “. We only see these two for a few pages, but by the end of their first appearance we learn that these two are sexist, homophobic and transphobic (“Teddy…sounds sleazy.” “Are you a man or a woman anyway? I hate it when you people refuse to choose.”) We’re meant to hate them. Teddy said in the previous issue that love and hate no longer exist in the future, but Spender and Prospeckt have loads????
It’s from Spender and Prospeckt that we learn Teddy’s official job title; she’s an Eraser. They demonstrate the meaning of the name by erasing the only witness to the girl anomaly’s existence. Erasing someone from history looks to be a very painful process, blood splatter included. They really live by their motto: “There’s only one way, our way.”
Teddy meanwhile has taken the female anomaly to her apartment. Her turnaround to accepting the anomaly seems pretty quick. In the last issue she was fully accepting of the whole ‘all anomalies must be erased thing’. And now she’s willing to become a fugitive to hide one? Perhaps the writers have brushed past this to focus on another one of Teddy’s internal struggles. Teddy and the woman have a moment and as they are about to kiss, she pulls away suddenly. Teddy’s thought patterns flash in the background, revealing she’s afraid to be herself, and with the anomaly. When she decides to at least scan the anomaly, she gets a name – Ano. It’s a short version of ‘anomaly’, but hey.
When Teddy enters her apartment we meet Herman, the janitor of her apartment complex. Herman serves as the vehicle through which Teddy learns the consequences of being passive. Back when Herman was still an Eraser he found a puppy shaped anomaly; he was told to erase it and he did. The next day he quit his job. Now I understand this is supposed to be a point of connection between Herman and Teddy, but I feel like Herman’s puppy story doesn’t hold the same emotional conflict that Teddy is experiencing. I’m not saying it’s not sad when the puppy dies, but maybe Herman wouldn’t have erased him so easily if the puppy were a person. If the writers wanted to keep Ano as a unique anomaly, maybe Herman’s story could have been a friend/family member who was erased because they didn’t follow orders, and Herman quit because he felt powerless to stop it.
Unsure of what to do next, Teddy decides that her and Ano should sleep on it. Ano points out that it’s still broad daylight and Teddy replies by telling her that night time was repressed a few centuries ago (she seems very accepting of certain things in her society, but not others.) She goes to find Ano a shirt but when she turns back around she finds Ano topless. It’s difficult for me to see this as more than fanservice. Teddy’s brain implosion at the sight of Ano’s boobs reminds me of those scenes from the movies: ‘nice guy’ is trying to control himself around pretty girl, but is having trouble because boobs. Just because the person looking is female, does that somehow change the meaning of the oogling? Lying in bed, Ano by her side, Teddy talks about how her world isn’t ready for Ano, how in the distant future the world still isn’t ready for change. They fall asleep with hands intertwined.
As they wake up the next morning, Ano (almost naked) comments that she enjoyed the “sleeping thing” very much. I’m not really sure where Ano lies on the spectrum of sc-fi amnesia. One moment she’s commenting that it’s broad daylight when sleep is suggested, as if she knows that sleeping is usually done at night; the next moment she’s acting like she’s never slept before. There’s something else that’s been bothering me about her character portrayal. In a comic filled with white characters, Ano, described as Japanese by the earlier witness, is very sexualised. Her clothes are pretty revealing and she has trouble keeping them on regardless. She even spends the last few pages of the comic in her panties. Ano only seems to serve as a tool for Teddy to explore her sexuality (Teddy’s boob gawking, Ano’s apparent desire to get Teddy trouser-less.) This combined with the fact that Ano is a literal other- an anomaly – and I’d say The infinite Loop may have a problem with “orientalism”.
Teddy’s apartment turns out to be the terrible hiding place we thought it was. Spender and Prospeckt catch up to the two women and a chase ensues, leaving Herman erased in the process. I feel like I should be sad, but we barely knew Herman so I got over it really quickly. To escape from their pursuers Teddy and Ano jump off a cliff and Teddy uses her eraser device on both of them…at least what looks like her eraser device. Instead of disintegrating into bloody chunks, the women seem to leave their present existence alive and well.
Ok, so there was a lot to take in in this issue. While we found out a lot more about Teddy’s future, there were also more than a few plot holes that needed filling. As for Ano’s characterisation…I’m just hoping she gets more of a storyline than just being “the anomaly”. If you’re following along, leave some comments below and let me know what you think of the story so far.