The Infinite Loop, written by Pierrick Colinet and illustrated by Elsa Charreter follows the story of Teddy, a woman from the distant future who works in the time-travel business. Her job? To make sure that history doesn’t change by erasing the anomalies that rise from time paradoxes.
Our story starts with the image of a lone car driving down the Nevada desert in 1964, with the protagonist, Teddy, telling us about her job. She laments that throughout history men have been making the same choices and the same mistakes. That’s right, the comic specifically says men.
Now I know some people are getting ready to throw their hands in the air and scream ‘that’s sexist!’, but think about it: historically (and not so historically) hasn’t it usually been men who are in the positions of power, making the big decisions that affect the rest of us?
Interestingly enough, Teddy’s job isn’t to stop these bad events from happening; its to make sure they continue to happen; in her words ‘To make sure nobody breaks this loop’—hence the title of the comic. I like how this plot doesn’t immediately depict Teddy as some kind of righteous hero. After all, wouldn’t a hero want to try and change the course of history and somehow make things better? While Teddy isn’t happy that she can’t change the past, she understands that the known events of our current history are better than the unknown consequences that could come with changing things.
A group called the Forgers have foiled the world’s second atomic bomb testing, when something appears in the time period that’s not supposed to be there (an anomaly). The anomaly turns out to be a dinosaur and a battle ensues. That’s right: stopping the world’s second atomic bomb test created a time rift, allowing a dinosaur into Nevada in 1964. It’s really random (and also slightly confusing?) but hey, when it comes to time travel and dimensions, pretty much anything can happen.
After the epic dino battle, Teddy takes her partner Ulysses to a diner in 1950s California (objects and animals from different time periods are bad, but time travellers are fine? Like I said, time.) She tells Ulysses that there has been a worrying increase in the amount of living anomalies. Ulysses responds by saying (literally, as well as metaphorically) “maybe times are changing”. Teddy disagrees. She recounts all the events in different times she was sent to: 1572 where the marriage of King Henry IV led to a bloody massacre, 1955 where a young African-American boy named Emmet was beaten to death at 14, for allegedly flirting with a white woman; 2013 where a homosexual militant named Eric Lambe was found murdered in his home. She concludes that love was the pretext to all the terrible events happening, to all the hatred. Maybe some would call her a cynic, but when your job is to make sure all these bad things keep happening, can you blame her? I like how they used the time travel element to shine a light on the more solemn events in history. Considering we’re living in a time where police brutality against black people is particularly prominent, highlighting a similar event taking place in 1955 shows how far we still have to go.
If Teddy had stopped here I would have thought that her ideas were unique to her. But she continues on to say that feelings—of love, of hatred— are “primitive”. Teddy and Ulysses come from a time where the emotions of love and hatred are seen as a problem, and not part of human nature (though the love part may only be in relation to romantic love; she seems to be good friends with Ulysses). Ulysses doesn’t seem to agree with the mentality of their time; in the last panel of the page his face is the only one in colour.
Teddy’s next mission takes her to 28th June 1970, the date of the first gay pride. Ulysses waits impatiently for Teddy to call him, even though it’s going to be purely for work reasons. When she eventually does he apologises for trying to kiss her without her permission. She brushes off his attempted kiss as a reaction of his ‘primitive side’ and goes straight back to her mission. Ulysses tries to convince her of the value of love (“couples…loving each other passionately”) but Teddy’s not convinced…not convinced until she meets the anomaly in the time period—a woman. If there is such a thing as love at first sight, it looks like our anti-romantic has just found it.
I feel like I should have seen this plot line coming: person doesn’t believe in romantic love until they actually fall in love. I would have been disappointed if the love interest was Ulysses who, as we’ve established, is a bit of a butt (and not a nice one either…).
So who is this mysterious anomaly? How did she come to be in the wrong time? Will Teddy be able to ‘rectify’ her? Tell me what you think in the comments below!