Penetrating the fathomless cold abyss of a universe in a state of entropic decay, writer Ryan Cady's (Warframe, Magdalena) Infinite Dark is a sci-fi gem brandishing grand ideas of deep space terror and humanity's survival.
Launched back in October, readers were taken on an exploratory voyage aboard the colony ship, Orpheus, as the last vestige of our race experiences the Heat Death of the Universe and drifts amid the placid emptiness between realities on a quest to endure.
With the first four-issue arc of this provocative Image/Top Cow title just finishing up in February, and a deluxe collected edition hitting stores on Wednesday, March 13, SYFY WIRE is hopping back aboard this massive void-ship with an exclusive look at next month's chapter, kicking off an unsettling new story arc beyond infinity.
Besides taking the wrapper off the next step for this ongoing odyssey, we also scored an unveiling of the covers for Infinite Dark #5, #6, and #7 alongside an illuminating chat with Cady regarding the direction of his compelling narrative, collaborating with interior artist Andrea Mutti and colorist K. Michael Russell, and the addition of new cover artist Nick Robles. Infinite Dark #5 rockets into comic shops on Apr. 10.
What is the state of the Orpheus and her crew entering April's new arc?
RYAN CADY: So, without spoiling too much of the previous volume, it's been a harrowing few weeks for the last people in existence. The Orpheus took some serious damage, and there was a lot of confusion and mistrust for everyone on board - people died, people lied, etc. And our hero, Deva Karrell, stared down an extradimensional Entity...
And lived! Oops, one spoiler, I guess. But Deva has been in a coma since the end of volume 1 and she wakes up to find that saving everyone's lives didn't solve everything. The station's under repairs, the Board of Directors is facing serious friction from the station's ordinary citizens, and nobody's sure where they stand. There's an air of sabotage, paranoia, mistrust, and she's not going to have as many allies dealing with last arc's consequences.
Also - in case you thought I was letting the readers off easy - there's something very, very wrong with the force field that protects the Orpheus from the void outside.
What are some of the changes in the art team and how do they enhance and capture the tone and flavor of Infinite Dark?
RC: Well, ultimately, Andrea Mutti and K. Michael Russell are still handling interiors - this book wouldn't be the same without them! From the get-go, our whole team was trying to channel Alien visuals - shadowy, expansive sci-fi imagery, that sort of thing. But with this arc being more focused on the station's residents, Andrea's really hammered down the human element. A lot more lone figures, big expressions, that sort of thing. Zoomed-in horror. But don't worry, there's still some trippy stuff.
I'm thrilled to have the brilliant Nick Robles on board. He's a dark, surreal genius, and his covers really exemplify the shift in tone we've got on interiors.
What keeps this sci-fi series fresh and inspirational for you and Andrea?
RC: Ultimately, we're kind of working with a giant "bottle episode" format, but for our whole series. We have this big station to play in and all these characters, sure, but we're still limited in the fact that nobody can really go anywhere else. But instead of letting that be a handicap, we've talked a lot about embracing it.
In the last arc, we focused on the looming exterior threats, on loss, on survival, on big themes lurking and shadowing over these lone souls. Lots of stark, spooky visuals. Ultimately hopeful and bombastic, sure, but I think very bleak along the way. But this arc, we're shifting direction in a lot of ways. More emotional than contemplative, more dangerous than threatening, and above all, more interactive.
We're playing with unique ways to showcase station's technological assets - virtual reality, holographic displays, the tech that shields the station. We're looking at different types of residents, different sectors on board - and some very different threats. It's all a bit more chaotic but that's a fun tilt for the series, for us.
Can you comment on Nick Robles' fantastic cover designs for #5, #6 and #7?
RC: You know, this book is a team effort, obviously - it wouldn't be the same series without Andrea and K. Mike. But if they hadn't been available, Nick Robles would've been my next call. He's so, so good at surreal but still very personal images, these dark, moody, brilliant compositions that capture the feeling of the series so well. Him on covers alongside our original interior team is like having my cake and eating it, too.
Every one of these covers is so unique! I really couldn't pick a favorite, but they're perfectly suited to each issue they're on. Every single one is a little scary, a little trippy, but always gorgeous. And, like Infinite Dark itself, I'd like to think - ultimately the kind of work that inspires hope.