Injection, Vol. 1 (Injection #1)
By Warren Ellis , Declan Shalvey , Jordie Bellaire
A few years ago, a public/private partnership between the British Government and a multinational company saw five clever people placed in university-owned offices and allowed to do whatever they liked. It was called the Cultural Cross-Contamination Unit, and the idea was that it would hothouse new thinking and new patents. Five actual geniuses, all probably crazy, very eccentric, put in one place and given carte blanche to think about ways to approach and change the future. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
They did A Crazy Thing, which was referred to as The Injection. A mysterious Thing that they did in order to make the 21st Century better and stranger. It got out. It got loose into the fabric of the 21st Century, whatever it was, and now things are getting weird and ugly, faster and faster.
So a few years have passed. They’ve all gone their separate ways, into separate “jobs” that allow them to follow and sometimes deal with the repercussions of The Injection. We are in the period where the toxic load of The Injection is at such a level that events that are essentially paranormal in nature are coming faster and faster, headed towards a point where humanity won’t easily be able to live on the planet any more. Not a Singularity of glory, but an irretrievable constant blare of horror coming too thick and fast for anything to deal with.
From the creators of Moon Knight: From the Dead: the story of five mad geniuses trying to save us all from themselves.
I believe this is my first encounter with Ellis, although I do not want to be quoted on that. I hate to admit that it did not go as well as I had hoped. I am really not going to spend any amount of time rehashing this plot-line. As you can see, the blurb has it covered.
Truth be told, I struggled with Injection and we got off to a rocky introduction. In the beginning it felt overly complex with a questionably vague story-line. I simply was struggling to follow the events unfolding. The narration and plot seemed to lack cohesion. I felt as if I were being thrown back and forth sporadically, and I was unable to make sense of the choppy back story that was randomly inserted into current events. For me, it was not working.
Eventually it did slowly begin to pull together and form something of mild interest and potential though. The concept I realized, is smart and original. Unfortunately, it was just a very long wait for this to become evident. I also found myself unable to enjoy the dialog for the majority of the novel. It was dry, lacking any true emotion and well as we know, dialog and artwork are a huge part of graphic novels.
The artwork was another uncertain facet of Injection for me. It wasn’t overly engaging yet not entirely disappointing either. It was a bit dark in terms of visual quality and style. There was nothing that grabbed me on an aesthetic level. While Injection is not meant to be beautiful, there was just nothing of huge interest occurring with the color scheme and illustration. Something about the art began to feel almost as obscure as what was or was not happening within the story.
It all felt a bit too mysterious. The characters, while diverse, failed to raise any particular interest even after their back stories were uncovered. It was almost as if Injection tried too hard and too little at times. It was a muddle reading experience for myself that ultimately left me piecing together exactly what this group of geniuses had done and were now doing. So here is where I currently stand:
- Diverse Characters.
- Elements of folklore intermingled with sci-fi have potential for a unique story arc going forward if executed in a more fluid fashion.
- Story and dialog lacked cohesion and felt choppy.
- The story was too vague even for an introduction.
- Artwork was dark and bland at times.
I won’t rule Injection out completely as a series. While there was violence, I did appreciate that there was only one scene of brief nudity which happened to be a male character for once and was presented in a nonsexualizing manner. Depending on future volumes, there are certainly some aspects to the story line that could be pulled together to form a decent and original sci-fi experience. But there will need to be some serious developments and narration improvements for this to happen for me.
For now, I am choosing to shelf this one and explore other options. I am however giving it 3 stars for the originality that was obscurely tucked within.