This book has been a trip, and then some… I was not entirely sure what to expect from this book, and after four issues, I am not entirely sure I am any closer to answering the question “what is this book, REALLY???” but I do know that I am enjoying this strange story focusing on a group of seemingly “normal” British people who seem to have found their way into the deepest, darkest, most X-Files-meets-Area 51-type government agency I have seen in a while. While the story doesn’t necessarily have as much of the knock down, drag out action that I was hoping for- since we are probably moving quickly towards the end of the first arc of this story, but I think that this book takes you on a ride you most certainly wont be expecting.
Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey had risen to being one of those high caliber creative teams while working on Moon Knight, and when they were announced to only be working on six issues of the book, I was crestfallen, to say the least. I loved that book, and I thought that they had an unmistakable chemistry that showed through on the page VERY easily. That same easy flow, that same chemistry shows here. These two men have a very unified vision, and I enjoy it greatly. I love the way that Ellis builds a world, creating such nuance and subtlety that is often lost in a more high-minded story. Shalvey really is in a league of his own- having a style that is both rough and very finished, feeling gritty and polished whenever it best suits the story. Not to mention the unmistakably subtle humor of the story. I love how Maria is obsessed with sandwiches (which isn’t necessarily a “funny” trait, maybe just “quirky” at best) and how they incorporate sandwiches subtly onto the page.
Plus the characters are free to be humorous, even in the face of extremely stressful situations; which again shows Warren Ellis’ talent for creating honest and realistic characters. Not everyone who is faced with a terribly stressful scenario would become a stoic and resolute force for positive change- some people would retreat inward, or become sarcastic buttheads. The human side of this story just helps to further the idea that there is something wholly “otherworldly” happening in this story. We finally get a bit of an idea of what The Injection can do- though the framework of who (or what) The Injection is, seems to be irrelevant at this point in the story. We are given a bit of a backstory about how this group somehow created something that MAY be The Injection, but I cannot say for certain. I loved the moment when Rob blows everyone’s minds (and the girl shouts out a sarcastic “WIZARD!” to punctuate his suggestion as being utterly ludicrous) and how it just built up through this whole high-concept conversation, that if I am completely honest, I needed to read a second time to just come close to catching MOST of what they were talking about.
This is no book for the faint-hearted; the story is often difficult to follow, and the whole idea behind this story is rather mysterious and doesn’t seem to have plans to be revealed any time soon. So if you are looking for a strange sci-fi mystery story written AND drawn by a HIGHLY skilled creative team, then this is a book that you should pick up. But be warned- it is not some “warm and fuzzy” story. Stuff happens, and it looks like stuff is going to continue to happen, and not much of it seems to be very good.