|INJECTION No. 9, April 2016|
Whilst Vivek Headland may well start off Issue Nine of “Injection” by proclaiming that “Something’s off”, the “Anglo-Indian consulting detective, living in New York” most assuredly wasn’t commenting upon this comic’s narrative. For even though Warren Ellis’ storyline concerning an Artificial Intelligence fooling “a rich man” into believing that he “had a ghost stolen from him” runs out of steam towards its end, and thus has to rely upon an overly sentimental drinking session between friends to pad out this publication. His writing initially doubtless provided its 11,433 readers with thrills aplenty as Red takes out an assassin armed with a compact automatic rifle, Simeon brutally convinces a second Rubedo soldier to yield by shoving “a Taurus Curve, already loaded, for concealed carry…” squarely in his face and Brigid interacts with the Injection as it finally starts to make its presence felt.
Such a flurry of activity genuinely proves an engrossing experience, especially as the Essex-born author is able to populate the oft-times graphically violent scenes with some incredibly humorous one-liners; most notably Headland’s profanity-filled response to his showboating bodyguard’s removal of a hired-killer with just a single bullet after agreeing to “give you a bonus… And an extra night off” if he could dispatch their would-be murderer “in two shots.”
Sadly not all of the Englishman’s penmanship is quite so entertaining though, once the plot progresses to the cyber-punk’s interrogation of “a laptop poisoned by the Injection”. The concept that a sentient computer programme is “learning about people by examining aspects of us and assembling them like code” makes sense. But just why it confusingly desires to learn about “crime and money and sex”, and requires Van Der Zee in order to attain this knowledge is arguably an entirely different matter.
Declan Shalvey’s pencilling for this twenty-page periodical proves just as much a dilemma as understanding some of Ellis’ nonsensical contentions. There is no doubt that the Eagle Award-winner can draw some terrific, if not a little gratuitous, action panels, as Red’s brief gun-fight with the Bullpup-armed Rubedo stooge attests. However, whenever the Irish artist has to illustrate the more sedentary aspects of the script, such as Headland raising a toast to his “old friends” or Brigid making a sandwich, the drawings are disappointingly angular and his figures disconcertingly two-dimensional.
|The regular cover art of "INJECTION" No. 9 by Declan Shalvey|