Image Comics newest offering, INJECTION, revolves around five people who poisoned the 21st century. This book is from the all-star creative team behind the first six-issues of MOON KNIGHT: Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire.
First and foremost, this is some of Declan Shalvey's and Jordie Bellaire's best work yet. MOON KNIGHT looked great, but INJECTION's art blows it away. Shalvey nails these beats and small moments in the opening scenes, which have a connection later on down the road in this issue, such as Maria pushing up her sleeves and showing off the tattoo. The facial expressions on these character's faces are phenomenal. His establishing shots of landscapes and buildings are also incredibly impressive. This issue will make you a fan of Shalvey's work. Plus, Jordie Bellaire's colors, which I've been a huge fan of in the past, have doubled in awesomeness here. It seems she's trying new things here with shading and her overall color palate for the issue and it works. She puts an insane amount of color detail into everything here. It's pretty outstanding.
The key to this book is that it is pretty weird and a relatively nontraditional opening to a comic book that's a bit hard to digest upon first reading. We get the story of the world and it's character primarily through the dialogue between the key players in the book. Ellis takes a different approach to world building and storytelling that isn't something readers can glance through. It challenges them to pay attention to detail within the dialogue and especially through the art as the reader is taken on a journey. What seems complex and confusing at first becomes clearer at time moves forward. However, not everything is given away and there are a plethora of questions the reader will have which hook them in for the second issue. One of the most interesting moments, which I personally can't wait to learn more about is the Actionable Archaeology Annex, which Maria Killbride steps into. Also, why does she want a sandwich so bad? Anyway, it's an issue that will stick with you and hook you in.
This issue is a tough pill to swallow with the first read-through. It jumps around a bit, as we're introduced to characters and the overall book doesn't click by the time the issue is over. Things become a bit more clear upon a second reading though. Throughout some more of the confusing moments, you can see where this is going and the fact nothing is laid out clearly just amplifies the intrigue for the book. With the creative team involved, understanding that it's going to take more than one issue to fully appreciate what's going on. Folks who are new to Warren Ellis' writing and storytelling may feel a bit lost and turned off by the first issue. However, stick with it.
INJECTION is easily one of the weirder books I've read this year. At first, I couldn't make heads or tails of it, but as I digested the contents of the piece, I began to start to see what makes this issue something readers should throw on their pull list. Seeing Ellis, Shalvey, and Bellaire working together again is a breath of fresh air and while this first issue didn't blow me away, it's something I am really want to continue reading, and that's what matters. This is some of Shalvey and Bellaire's best work to date, so while INJECTION may not be a book that appeals to everyone, I highly recommend checking this first issue out and sticking with it to see how it plays out.