This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on February 27, 2017.
Comics is a marathon. Every week at the store it’s about finding all of the books you’re already reading, which makes it easy to ignore some that you might need to catch up on or discover. That doesn’t mean there aren’t comics worth discovering though. Luckily, we’re here to help fill you in on where you might be missing out. This week is a perfect example as Injection returns to comics store shelves with its eleventh issue and the start of a brand new story arc.
Injection is modern science-fiction focused on a set of five extraordinary human beings who created a living, idea-based virus that has entered the world to run amok. Each arc of the story focuses on one of these team members in the present, while also exploring their past together. It’s a concept and presentation that allows new readers to potentially dip into the narrative at any point, while also providing a satisfying story with each new arc and collection. Starting with Injection #11 the series turns its focus to Brigid Roth, a technology and communications specialist, sent to investigate a gruesome murder at an archaeological site in England.
If you aren’t already picking up Injection, this is why you should check out the new story and pick up the first two collections from your own local comic store as soon as possible.
The Incredibly Weird Science
Nobody in comics writes science fiction like Warren Ellis. Nobody. Full stop. No exceptions.
Whether you’re looking at the launch of his new DC imprint with The Wildstorm #1 or revisiting his classic work on comics like Transmetropolitan or Planetary, Ellis has consistently distinguished himself as a thoughtful and unique futurist. With a vision comparable to that of Robert Heinlein, Ellis chews ideas thoroughly and rapidly. It’s common to find concepts outside of plot and character explored in the background of his series. Everything is up for questioning or concern, and the results are equally wild and thoughtful.
Injection has tapped into a core concern about the future of information systems and the potential for artificial intelligence. With each new segment of the story, Ellis and his collaborators tap into a new angle of the independent, hyper-intelligent “injection”. So far the series has explored concepts of folklore and conspiracies, how these different types of ideas influence and change individuals. That exploration of ideas has also unleashed Injection to include the fantasy and spy genres without ever losing its roots in science fiction. Now with Injection #11 the series is tackling the intelligence of ancient civilizations and great mysteries. The first issues looks at the stone circles of England and modern communication systems simultaneously in a way that questions how we connect to one another through technology.
The Absolutely Stunning Artwork
When Injection was first announced, it wasn’t Ellis’ name that drew the most attention, it was artist Declan Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire. The series was proposed in the wake of their previous collaboration with Ellis on Moon Knight and fans could not wait to see more from this visionary pairing of artists. Together they have continued to refine their approach to storytelling and their own bold style. Each new story of Injection has shown that growth and offered an absolute thriller of a comic book in return. If you’re feeling skeptical, find an issue of Injection #2. There is a fight scene at the end of the issue that actually deserves to be called “mind-blowing”. The use of space, movement, and perspective are stunning and make each strike land in your mind.
Shalvey and Bellaire continue to elevate their game with the newest round of Injection, focusing on forms and shapes in Injection #11. The new story is fascinated with connections between the natural and modern world, as well as the old and new world. Those connections can be discovered in similar forms, like those of a satellite dish and Stonehenge-like monument. The clarity of their shapes along with surprising similarities in texture bring these together in the eye. Bellaire also shows off her extraordinary ability to guide the eye and define information with color in this issue. Both her use of some bold neon tones and the creeping whites of the broders are used to great effect. Injection #11 is another example of why these two names are some of the hottest in comics and how much they are capable of when collaborating.
The Fascinating Cast of Characters
The structure of Injection makes its focus clear. This is a comic that is about its characters before anything else. While the concept of the “injection” is something that drives the action, it was only their combined intelligence and ingenuity that allowed it to ever exist. Each of these individuals bears some familiar elements of previous Ellis protagonists, but exist uniquely in their own strengths and focus. These stories are not just an examination of modern ideas centered around communication, but character studies about individuals in fields of increasing importance.
Bridgid’s role as the new lead beginning with Injection #11 makes it clear why this character-focused approach is what distinguishes Injection as one of the best series on comics stands today. Shalvey and Bellaire’s visual definition of the character is incredibly keen. Her loneliness and isolation is framed within individual panels that juxtapose her against the stacks of technology and people around each scene. Ellis highlights that place in the world with an acerbic wit and some keen one liners. No matter how much this character wants everyone around her to leave her alone, as a reader it’s impossible to look away.
The science fiction credentials, superb artwork and storytelling, and great list of characters are all excellent reasons to check out Injection. They’re also all elements of the big reason to read this comic: It’s a great comic. No single element can be attributed for its success because it is all of these elements and others working in concert that create the experience. So pick up Injection #11 or the first trade of this awesome series to see what that experience is all about.
Buy the ticket, take the ride.