Thursday, 17 September 2015

Injection #5 - Image Comics

INJECTION No. 5, September 2015
Supposedly ‘wrapping up the first bulk of story’, Issue Five of “Injection” proves to be a somewhat grisly unsettling affair as “Maria Kilbride goes underground to save a man from the sound of the haunted future” and shockingly ends up literally skinning the archaeologist alive in order to rescue the world from pixies. Indeed Warren Ellis’ narrative finally starts to actually deliver upon the International Horror Guild Award-winner’s pre-publication promise of the comic book containing “science fiction, tales of horror, strange crime fiction, techno-thriller, and ghost story all at the same time”, and surprisingly manages to depict both some genuinely surreal and ghoulishly sinister moments.

Foremost of these has to be the lame Professor’s confrontation with the Spriggan and their innocent naked ‘riding’ vessel. Having easily rescued two fungi-infested workmen by having them simply turn their “outer clothing inside out” and thus breaking the Cornish fairies’ “control”. The understandably grim-faced scientist is then forced to carve open the back of the spirit’s foremost victim with her electromagnetic field-generating blade and despite the fact the man is clearly still consciously alive, rip the hide from his bleeding torso with her bare hands; “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”

Just as unsettling, though infinitely less gory and decidedly more unfollowable however, is the revelation that Robin Morel was responsible for creating the “non-biological, non-physical consciousness” within the Injection’s computer code which Kilbride’s group created in order to “bend the terms of the future just enough to ensure innovation didn’t stagnate.” Such a premise is arguably pure Ellis transhumanist mumbo jumbo, and actually gets worse as the “cunning-man” then later seeks out the ghost of “the greatest blacksmith in England” and is admonished for making “the Injection live by infusing it with something from The Other World.”

Disappointingly the Essex-born author also insists on populating his characters’ dialogue with some rather cumbersomely placed swear words. In fact it is infuriatingly hard to understand just why the Eagle Award-winner believes such language is necessary or appropriate for this story as he predominantly only seems to include such vulgarities when his protagonists are talking to one another, as opposed to when Maria is horrifically breaking the physical connection between the Spriggan and its hapless victim.

Possibly just as ‘hit and miss’ as the script is Declan Shalvey’s inconsistent artwork. The Irish penciller’s illustrations of the mushroom-ridden pixie pawns is fiendishly well-detailed, especially when the fairies mouldy machinations are set in motion and start to crawl their way through the dilapidated factory’s tunnels. Yet the same praise cannot be given to several of the artist’s other scenes, with some of his depictions of the mentally disturbed professor proving to be especially awkward-looking and unappealing to the eye.
The regular cover art of "INJECTION" No. 5 by Declan Shalvey

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