Vol. 1 (Issues #1-5)
$9.99 | 120pgs
Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire
“You wanted a more interesting world… Maybe I’m growing up quickly. Maybe I’m better than you planned… Maybe I’m just showing you that your world was interesting enough all the time, all on its own. And now I’m punishing you.”
Warren Ellis excels at making esoteric concepts into science fiction comic book greatness! Coming on the heels of his criminally short Moon Knight run that reinvigorated the character, Ellis proves his skill once more with Injection. This time Ellis, and his collaborators Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, provide their take on folklore, specifically legends and tall tales with European origins.
For all of you Marvel movie buffs or futurists, one of the key points made in Thor is that of technology and science proceeds far enough, from the perspective of the masses, it will begin to resemble magic. Injection details that transition as science and technology make the leap to becoming magic. This is a fascinating concept and Ellis deftly explores it with his usual flair and clarity. He has the amazing ability to make far-fetched ideas understandable, relatable, and comic reading worthy without getting lost in the weeds.
The first five issues juggle the task of reintroducing the five (literal) geniuses responsible for creating the Injection, which is peppered with flashes back to how the think tank was first assembled, and the effort to solve the mystery of what a dead scientist and two missing security guards has to do with a stone. Inasmuch as writer Grant Morrison is an idea machine, Ellis too shines at crafting high concepts such as the Cultural Cross-Contamination Unit (CCCU), a public/private partnership between the British Government and a multinational company which places the geniuses in university-owned offices and allowing them to do whatever they would like as long it jump-starts innovation. What they come up with is the Injection.
The Injection is a non-biological intelligence, with a non-human consciousness, that can bend the laws of physics. It was put into place by these “geniuses” (figurative) in order to accelerate the future and make the world more interesting. They injected into the internet an “almost-conscious machine learning system that can mess with the state of the world” – and now they feel guilty about it. The series is the story detailing how they go about facing the consequences of that course of action. And it makes for damn good reading!
The focal protagonist is Maria Kilbride, however, each issue shifts perspectives to shine a light on each of the different team members, offering insight into their past and present. Robin Morel is a shaman of sorts, Brigid Roth – a computer hacker, Simeon Winters – a Secret Intelligence Service operative, and Vivek Headland – a logistician akin to being an Indian version of Sherlock Holmes. The Injection has damaged the members of the CCCU mentally, physically, and emotionally. The burden of carrying the weight of the repercussions of their actions is on full display as the team encounters various manifestations of the Injection.
Equal parts X-Files, Paranormal Investigations, and espionage adventure, Injection begins on solid footing, your individual mileage will vary based on your ability to forge your way through the turns Ellis puts not the characters but you as a reader through. Things are eventually explained as more information is parceled out but don’t go in expecting things to unfold in a traditional manner or have a singular info dump in a barrage of exposition. Injection requires that you pay attention but the great art and dialog ensure that it doesn’t penalize readers for not being able keeping up.