Infinity 8 vol.2: …Back To the Führer! (#1 – 3) – Lewis Trondheim

3 out of 5

Er, problematic, which disrupts the fun.

Our second venture down Starship Infinity’s eight potential timelines, in the captain’s quest to determine the source of the clutter blocking their flight-path.  Trondheim and Zep zipped us around cosmic hijinks in the previous arc; now the timeline has reset (under cap’s purview) and we give it another go, with artist Olivier Vatine giving space cop Stella Moonkicker and her robo pal Bobbie a chance to investigate.

Stella’s penchant for fisticuffs and selfies allows Trondheim to work his casually playful cultural snark to good effect, and Vatine’s bubbly, stylized linework is a great match for the generally mirthful tone.  Problems arise when Stella gets distracted by the future’s version of the Nazi party… which Trondheim plays for laughs, as their spacely incarnation is blissfully unaware of the group’s roots, seeing it as more a of social gathering.  This is all fine and good, but when Shlomo Ju shows up – a diminutive little fellow with payos – the stereotyping feels very un-2018.  Trondheim isn’t a stranger to somewhat dunderheaded humor of this nature, which he admittedly writes with a sense of innocence that generally lets it fly, but when the head of Hitler is discovered in space, and manages to stake a fourth reich takeover of the starship – which Stella buys in to – it’s unclear where Trondheim is drawing the line on satire; he writes Hitler in a comically over-the-top fashion, but also espousing his politics in a rather convincing fashion.  As in part of the joke being that maybe his ideas aren’t so wild…?  When things eventually devolve into chaos, it can be accepted that Trondheim is poking fun at our follow-the-leader mentality, but it’s not a clear throughline, and the questionable implementation makes the story a little weird to read, when space Nazis are normally, y’know, acceptable silly pulp fare.