The team of Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire has struck again. Hopefully, they will stick together beyond their last brief, but brilliant six-issue arc on Moon Knight, as the early signs of Injection are very positive. The creative team has once again succeeded at planting the seeds of a very mysterious and intriguing premise. Hopefully once the seeds start blooming, some pretty unexpected floral arrangements will appear. With Warren Ellis scripting, there shouldn’t be any less an expectation.
What makes this series begin on a high note is the ability to withhold information. The issue is light on expository and instead reveals a gradual build of bits of background, including a quick momentary look through a window into the past. The story begins with Maria Killbridge, a very frail and weak looking individual, who currently resides in a not so friendly sort of hospital. Maria converses with another woman, who works for a company called Force Projection International under a specific office called The Cursus. The FPI hire groups to search out for new exploitable resources and if anything were to go wrong, Cursus are brought in to deal with the problem. Maria too works for Cursus. From the looks of it, whatever occurred in Maria’s past has taken quite the toll on her physical and mental self. Now, her services are required again, as she is given information on a new job.
Declan Shalvey’s artwork really captures this sense of dread and the scarring of the past with all of the characters present. The shadowing on each person’s face is very evident providing this sense of wonder into what caused Maria to appear so physically and emotionally drained. His facial expressions question so much about these characters giving a real and raw depth to their existence. The way he makes eyes squint or cower to the ground shows a great understanding of body language, highlighting the importance of showing versus telling. A great simple but noticeable frame that captures this occurs in the past. A character by the name of Robin Morel finds his way to this office, labelled and held by a few pieces of tape on a piece of paper as ‘Cultural Cross-Contamination Unit.’ Robin is introduced to the group of people within, headed by Maria. As Robin shakes hands with Brigid Roth, the daughter of one of the members named Simeon Winters, Simeon’s face visibly shows a sense of discomfort and protection over her. It will be interesting to see if this goes in the direction it is subtly suggesting.
Jordie Bellaire really adds to these stark penciled and inked frames as her colours around the shadows cause this bleeding effect; appearing like two variances, the past and present, the light and the dark, fighting to supersede the other. The moments in the past are much brighter compared to the darker, pastel like spreads of the background in the present time. The only feature maintaining and actually appearing more vibrant in colour is Maria’s red hair. Through the combination of Shalvey’s lines and Bellaire’s careful play on colour and light, hair is actually quite noticeably beautiful in terms of how it flows and evokes movement; you don’t need any motion lines when you are this good.
The choice in lettering by Fonografiks is a unique one in the sense that the narration is withheld from the restraints of a box, and instead flows freely with a bold yellow font in the top left corner of the frames. Quentin Tarantino would approve, one might think. A stream of consciousness kind of effect is created, diving into these thoughts that appear both nostalgic and troubled.
There is definitely a high enough intrigue factor in the first issue of Injection that subtly hints enough at what exactly is going on to hotly anticipate the next issue. A brief introduction to a team of characters allows for lots of room to build up in and is shown early on that Ellis already appears to have a decent handle on the voices of at least a couple of them. Maria alone is a very intriguing character that is trusted by those around her, yet it is not completely evident as to why.
By the time the next issue hits, let’s hope Maria gets the sandwich she is so frequently demanding.