One of my favorite entries in the Marvel Now! line was the first arc of Moon Knight. The incredible team behind the book took a complicated and somewhat uninteresting character and transformed him into an engrossing, beautifully realized character. Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire have now reunited to bring us Injection, a horror/science fiction tale from Image Comics. I was incredibly excited to see if the team could surpass their previous work.
Injection’s story is a bit of a mystery. While the book introduces us to Dr. Maria Kilbride and a small team of scientists, not much is known about their actions or the conflict of the piece. Instead, we’re treated to a nonlinear storyline about the rise and fall of these characters. We know that they worked with government organizations on some potentially dangerous projects in the past. Coupled with their current situations, it’s obvious something went wrong. Injection is a book that doles out story bits slowly, instead relying on the characters and the mystery of the world to keep readers invested.
The book focuses on introducing readers to the characters and the world. There are a lot of things left unclear, specifically who these government agencies are and what they do. However, the characters are immaculately realized and being thrust into the world with them makes for an interesting experience. The cast is already evolving in enticing ways and each character feels unique. Brigid Roth and Robin Morel are the real standouts, each fascinating enigmas with just the right touch of attitude.
The world itself is set apart from our own, but the full extent of the differences isn’t clear yet. There’s an overarching tension there and the mysterious plot plays into it brilliantly. There’s something not quite right with the world, but you’ll have trouble putting a confident finger on it. Ellis has a real talent for bringing a story together, so I”m not overly concerned about the attention to characters and setting rather than plot. However, some people are going to be turned off by the fact that seemingly nothing has happened so far.
Shalvey is turning in some amazing work for this book. If Moon Knight showcased the range of his talents, Injection capitalizes on it, presenting gritty hospital scenes alongside ethereal nightmare sequences. The character design helps to make each character feel unique and informs their personalities. I particularly enjoyed comparing the designs from the two timelines and seeing the changes that will occur throughout the story. Jordie Bellaire does a great job on colors, particularly in the darker moments of the story. Everything comes together beautifully.
Injection #1 is a fascinating first entry for the series. While the direction of the overall story isn’t clear, there’s plenty of good stuff in these pages to keep readers interested. The art on its own makes this book worth a look. If you missed this one last week, be sure and track down a copy as soon as possible.