Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Injection #8 - Image Comics

INJECTION No. 8, March 2016
It is really hard to imagine that many, if any, of this twenty-page periodical’s 11,855 readers obtained any notable satisfaction from perusing Issue Eight of “Injection”. For whilst Warren Ellis’ storyline does occasionally provide some fleeting moments of deductive ingenuity as the Cross-Cultural Contamination Unit continues its investigation into the bizarre abduction of John Van Der Zee’s ethereal girlfriend. It does so almost begrudgingly and seemingly prefers instead to tediously toy with the concept of a ‘TARDIS-owning’ Brigid Roth potentially being Doctor Who, an unshaven bleary-eyed Robin Morel having drinks with his dead relatives, and, most distasteful of all, Vivek Headland recollecting his various sexual encounters with all manner of partners across over seventeen semi-graphically drawn panels; “So, if anyone asks? You drugged me.”

Just why the Essex-born writer felt his audience would enjoy such a bizarre gestalt of unrelated ideas, particularly those concerning the Logician’s more dubious “human interaction” experiments, instead of continuing with what was once an enthralling enquiry into a missing ghost and the serving of a human-ham sandwich, is not terribly clear? But it seems probable that the British novelist at some point realised that a narrative focusing solely upon the Private Eye’s interrogation of a confused criminal chef “with strong occult tendencies” and subsequent briefing of a New York Police Department officer, wasn’t going to produce material sufficient enough to fill either the magazine, or the graphic novel based upon this story-arc which, somewhat mercenary-like, “Image Comics” actually announced before this comic book series had ever been published.

Sadly however even Ellis’ logic behind just why the nefarious international organisation Rubedo are threatening Headland’s latest client makes little actual sense. Vivek’s hypothesis that the villains “have mistaken an artificial intelligence for an alchemical substance and/or presence that represents ultimate power and enlightenment” genuinely taxes the mind… And it certainly comes as no surprise that Manhattan detective Lucy Branch balks at the ludicrous idea of Van Der Zee somehow making a deal with the Philosopher’s Stone in order for its “virtual facet” to bring “his dead lover back for him.”

Such a mind-numbing plot clearly did little to motivate artist Declan Shalvey either, as the Irishman’s breakdowns for this comic are arguably far from impressive. Admittedly there will be plenty of fans out there who will praise the Eagle Award-winner’s significant use of a child-like bubble-map as innovative story-telling. But that still doesn’t account for the wooden, lifeless figures, such as those pencilled throughout Robin’s drunken stupor sequence, which populate the rest of this book.
The regular cover art of "INJECTION" No. 8 by Declan Shalvey

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