Published on May 13th, 2015 | by Dapper Dan0
Injection #1 Review
This week, Image Comics brings us another new title, loaded with top creators and great promise.
Injection #1 comes from the same creative team that gave us Marvel’s Moon Knight relaunch, acclaimed by critics and readers alike. Clearly Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire have incredible synergy.
If you’re a fan of Ellis’ work, you know what to expect here. If you’re new to his work, expect smart dialogue, twisty plots, and copious amounts of elder god weirdness and/or body horror before the day is out. From the off we’re treated to some great dialogue, as the lead character conducts a two-strand conversation with a representative of her employers. Bouncing between proving her competence to work, and critiquing the catering, Maria Kilbride endears herself immediately. She’s equal parts damaged and weary, combined with high intelligence and a lack of tolerance for bullshit. It’s a nice touch that, in an issue full of infodump and SLAs (silly little acronyms) the lead character shows little patience for it
Structurally, the start of the issue recalls the very first chapter of Planetary from Ellis and John Cassaday, way back when; series lead Maria Kilbride is approached and called back to the field, much as Elijah Snow was. Equally she’s got a tough as nails exterior and exudes an attitude of being far too good to deal with any shit but “oh alright, if one must”. There is a group investigating strange occurrences, here it was the Cultural Cross-Contamination Unit, as opposed to the Planetary Foundation. Oh, and Maria wore a lot of white, much like Elijah Snow. Where Injection ploughs its’ own furrow, is in giving us a world of the near future, where corporate interests have gone unchecked and Kilbride’s CCCU may be responsible for the increase in “incidents”…
Shalvey’s facial work here is fantastic. Intense stares, furtive glances, hard-nosed pragmatism. All these feelings come through in his work and give emotional heft to the book. While some artists may have a specific background they fall back on more frequently than others, Shalvey is equally adept at drawing pastoral countryside vistas as he is techno-laden computer labs, or nondescript offices above a takeaway.
It’s easy to see why Jordie Bellaire is hailed as one of the finest colourists working in comics today. While her stellar work on Moon Knight was full of stark blacks, whites and shades of grey, Injection has a much broader palette. There’s a real warmth to the colours that makes Shalvey’s art pop.
My one complaint, and this is something I level at a LOT of first issues, is that it’s not a very satisfying read in and of itself. Yes, it’s obviously chapter one in a larger story, but it doesn’t tell much of a story beyond a lot of setup and posing a lot of questions for the reader to wonder about until issue 2 hits. There are hooks such as; what is The Injection, what do the tattoos that seem to be linked to it mean and just why did the group break apart in the first place, but there needs to be more meat in subsequent issues. I fully expect issue 2 to fill in more of the blanks and drive the core plot forward.
If you enjoyed Planetary, or Moon Knight from these creators, or you miss the TV series Torchwood or Quatermass, then pick up Injection. I think you might well get hooked.