Review: Injection #5

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Publisher: Image
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Declan Shalvey
Colours: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Fonografiks

Injection’s been a bit of a slow burner so far. An enthralling, striking slow burner, granted, but a slow burner nonetheless. For 4 issues we’ve been reading about the actions of the Cross Cultural Contamination Unit’s in the past and the FPI Cursus in the present, all revolving around the mysterious and dangerous Injection, with questions being carefully set-up and the answers tantalisingly eked out issue after issue. Now, with this week’s Injection #5 , the Injection finally steps out of the shadows and the ex-CCCU members start to unravel the strange happenings they’ve been experiencing.

Injection is the brain child of the comics creating dream team of Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire and they continue to fire on all cylinders with Injection #5. Ellis is seemingly pouring all of his interests into one big weird melting pot, resulting in a daring concoction of folklore, British history and mythology, and of course a hefty dose of futurism. We’ve seen flickers of all of these elements (most overtly futurism) steadily come into play over the past 4 issues, but they coalesce fully in Injection #5, finally giving us a clear idea of the nature of the Injection and what exactly Robin Morel can get up to. As we’ve come to expect from Ellis, the dialogue is seamless and engaging, never getting bogged down by sci-fi jargon as too often happens when other writers try to take on similar heady concepts.

Shalvey is as reliable as ever, bringing a strong command of line and shape to form a final product that is as bold and accomplished as it is easy to read. It’s clear to see that there’s reasoning behind every panel shape and page layout. The result is engagingly distinctive. The scenes with Maria facing the Spriggans underground are ominous and filled with dread, the conversations between characters disarmingly real and familiar due to his portrayal of emotion and body language. Injection looks set to ramp up to new levels of crazy and surreal, and I can’t wait to see how Shalvey tackles it.

As is becoming somewhat regular when I read a book with her colouring, Bellaire’s work on Injection #5 might just be my favourite part of the issue. Her subtle, precise colours ensure that Shalvey’s detailed and realistic underground environment is grimy, murky, foreboding, and clearly a place you shouldn’t want to be. I especially love Bellaire’s use of colour to convey tone and information, instead of just filling in the linework. A lot of people would probably consider colouring to merely be flourish, but  when you compare Bellaire’s crisp, clean work in scenes following the CCCU in the past to the dim, eclectically drab work present in scenes following Maria’s underground expedition in the present it really demonstrates the full extent of what can be achieved with colouring in modern comics. The colouring choices made in the relatively simple scene when Robin Morel shows up at Brigid Roth’s house with the first idea to meld magic and science are easily my personal highlight of the issue, and an incredibly effective use of colour as metaphor.

Overall, the entire team behind Injection has been firing on all cylinders for the past few issues, and after a deceptively slow start looks set to truly run with the slightly surreal, wholly original concept. There’s really nothing quite like Injection on the shelves just now, so grab the issues, wait for the trade, I don’t care,  just read this book or I’ll throw you in Maria’s old room in Sawlung.