Friday, 11 September 2015

Injection, Volume 1 Review (Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey)

The team behind last year’s excellent Moon Knight, Volume 1: From the Dead, Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire reunite for Injection. It’s about five strange people hired by some organisation to do something. Magic abounds. Odd plant monsters. Things that glow and Other Worlds. Mythical ancient England. It’s kind of X-Files-y. 

I read the first issue of Injection when it came out and straight afterwards realised I didn’t know what the hell was going on and that I also kind of disliked it. Then I remembered I had the same reaction with the single issues of Trees and when I came to read that title’s first complete arc in one go, I loved it. 

So I collected the single issues of Injection and read the first arc together, hoping and… nope! No fucking clue what is going on in Injection! It’s unclear what the team are and what they’re meant to do. Even they don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing, one character literally asks “What shall we do?” at their first meeting! The story jumps around a bit but it’s confusing which parts happen when - is this bit in the past or the present? 

Minor spoilers in the next paragraph. 

Ellis doesn’t explain anything in this book so beyond the questions above, I was wondering more specific things like who the guy was who wired his guts into the computer and why he’d done that. Who were those guys that Winters charged in and murdered - and why did he do that? What room are The Unit in - the backgrounds keep changing their location as well as the food on their table! 

You find out what Injection is at the end but that doesn’t explain anything that precedes it or presents a clear narrative for the series. Nor is Injection itself that interesting a concept as it’s been done before many times. 

I loved the artwork in this book. The parts with Robin Morel are stunning - that panel of a murder of crows taking flight is beautiful and the magical creatures he encounters are wondrous. This is Shalvey’s best work to date and Bellaire helps realise it’s brilliance with her colours. 

Unfortunately, Injection was a big letdown for me, a huge Warren Ellis fan, but also because I loved Moon Knight and was hoping this team’s next collaboration would be as compelling - and it really wasn’t. The story is far too vague to care about, the characters are underwritten, and the scenes jump about randomly. Ellis doesn’t give me a reason to return for a second volume. Definitely not one of his best efforts which is a shame as he’s been on a bit of a roll lately.

Injection, Volume 1

1 comment:

  1. Ellis never seems capable of pulling anything together without a strong editor breathing over his shoulder. Looking back at his defining works like Planetary and Transmetropolitan, in hindsight I can't help but to wonder if those creations would have worked without DC nudging him with some careful editorial guidance. Those half dozen or so creator owned titles Ellis wrote for Avatar a few years back were all undeniably failures, being both bland and generic.