Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Injection #3 - Image Comics

INJECTION No. 3, July 2015
Considering that the “Image Comics” advertising strapline for this third instalment of “Injection” concludes with the wording “Civilization is dying and only five people know”, many readers would arguably expect a good deal of action to take place within the book’s twenty-pages in order to thwart such a global predicament. Disappointingly though, besides an utterly bizarre double-splash sequence where the narrative’s ‘not cunning man’ somehow banishes a gigantic Treeman, nothing of any note actually happens at all…

Such a dissatisfying experience is undoubtedly due to the fact that Warren Ellis literally fills the entirety of the magazine’s opening half with Professor Kilbride's slightly fraught "pixies" telephone conversation with her former colleague Robin Morel. In fact this periodical contains little else but dialogue-heavy scenes, as the English author scripts Brigid Roth cursing as Simeon Winters attempts “to arrange an in-person consultation” with her, Maria ‘chit-chats’ with “the new Dispatch”, a colourfully-dressed Indian woman who needs “to pass an interim report on to Control”, and the title’s “esotericist” argues with his group’s resident secret agent during a somewhat lengthy ‘bygone scene’ back when the “weird think tank” was still in operation.

Admittedly in this title’s pre-publication press release the Eagle Award-winning writer forewarned his many fans that this comic would initially simply establish “the world and its problems” and focus upon the development of the storyline’s main protagonists. Yet in doing so it is also arguably clear that this comic’s creators are not producing a well-paced narrative which is readily followable as a regular monthly magazine series. But instead as “five planned volumes” of trade paperbacks.

Fortunately this periodical is at least pleasing to the eye with Declan Shalvey producing some quite wonderfully illustrated moments. In particular the artist’s transformation of Morel’s cheap hotel room into a dank, misty woodland, complete with shadowy observers, startled crows and abundant trees, is incredibly well rendered. The former “Thunderbolts” penciller even goes so far as to slowly represent tiny leaves working their way up Robin’s room phone cable as the duration of his call with Kilbride increases. An especially impressive demonstration of the artist's ‘attention to detail’ which seems to genuinely show just how “delighted” the Irish inker is “to be continuing the creative relationship I’ve established with Warren [Ellis] and Jordie [Bellaire]”.

Unfortunately not everything is as well drawn however, with Shalvey’s infinitely less-detailed flashbacks depicting the “five crazy people” who “poisoned the Twenty-First Century” considerably jarring with the majority of this issue’s artwork. Such a disappointing contrast is especially noticeable when these lack-lustre, blandly-hued panels are intermixed with the much more detailed ‘modern-day’ events all upon the self-same page.
The variant cover art of "INJECTION" No. 3 by Declan Shalvey

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