Monday, 14 March 2016

Injection #6 - Image Comics

INJECTION No. 6, January 2016
“The next chapter in the series”, Issue Six of “Injection” exclusively focuses upon Vivek Headland, one of the “five actual geniuses… [who] created an alien artificial intelligence in order to make the 21st Century better and stranger” and undoubtedly unsettled it’s 13,153 strong audience in January 2016 with its disconcerting depiction of “a case involving money, ghosts, sex and the correct kitchen preparation of human meat.” Indeed despite positively believing that “any reader could come in at” this particular edition “and come away with an ‘issue one’-like reading experience”, Warren Ellis seems to have been equally as determined to make this twenty-page periodical’s narrative as disquieting as possible by starting it with the Anglo-Indian consulting detective undergoing an eccentric morning routine of having his tea in an antechamber walled with nothing but television screens displaying world news.

Having established that the New York-based private investigator is idiosyncratic in his daily habits, as well as utterly “bored”, the graphic novelist then provides an equally alarming insight into the background of the rich man’s butler, Red. This rather hard-nosed ex-mercenary, who rather rudely gesticulates at his well-spoken employer behind closed doors just because he’d threatened to blow the servant up if he got the contents of a sandwich wrong, was supposedly rescued from a former affiliation intent upon murdering him “just for staying alive this long after the failure of your client’s business” and strangely seems to feature quite prominently on account of being the ‘gag man’ of the script.

Household staff expositions aside the majority of this comic book’s storyline is actually taken up with Headland’s initial interview of his latest client, wealthy investor John Van Der Zee, and then an unnerving investigation into how someone from a local eatery managed to send Vivek “a sliced human bicep” which formerly belonged to the son of the “giant of corporate finance.” This sudden and ghoulish plot-twist is made all the more disagreeably unpalatable by the protagonist’s nonchalant admission to his cook that he immediately recognised the taste of the ham in his sandwich on account of already “know[ing] what human meat tastes like.”; “A full education is crucial to a complete life, Chef.”

Quite delightfully Declan Shalvey’s artwork for this cannibalistic chronicle proves just as captivating as Ellis’ writing, for the Irish illustrator not only depicts the recipient of “the criminal food order” as an authoritative Sherlock Holmes lookalike. But populates some of his well-rendered, oft-times detailed panels, with surreal touches such as having Headland walking through a plan of the investigator’s own home in order to help orientate the reader or depicting all the world's tiny details which Vivek notices via a series of small-framed negative images.
The regular cover art of "INJECTION" No. 6 by Declan Shalvey

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