So this series has, in just five total issues, vacillated wildly between a straightforward action comic to a sci-fi mystery thriller. This issue, being a bit more on the mystery side, still gives the reader something worthwhile to hold in their hands. I think that this story has done enough for drip-feeding the backstory before this point, so that we get more confirmation as to what the Injection actually is.
I have really grown attached to this cast of characters, because the way Ellis writes them, and the way Shalvey draws them, they have a warmness and humanity about them that is oftentimes lacking in comic book characters. I thought that the humorous aspect of the team all getting matching tattoos was a really neat and very small (while still being very effective) moment to really show the unity and solidarity of this unit.
From there, the tone of the book shifts, from light to dark- when Maria is underground facing the threat that Injection has created by bringing legends to life. This was the part where my brain went sideways, because it is just SUCH high concept stuff. The team has created a semi-sentient “thing” that is injected into the internet, and that is meant to shake things up and to be the catalyst for growth and change so that “innovation doesn’t stagnate”. At that point, I just sat back and when “whaaaaaaaat?!?!” because I have no idea how any of this was even imagined by a comic creator, let alone how it would be carried out within this universe where such ideas are tangible.
The artwork in this issue is phenomenal, and the writing has taken a bit of a turn (but a good turn) now that **SPOILERS** Maria has been able to directly communicate with the Injection. I was not expecting to get a 2001: A Space Odyssey moment in this book, and the cover really doesn’t give any details about the story as a whole, so I don’t think anyone will expect this to be where the story heads.
I have nothing but good things to say about this book, because the creators obviously have a very laser-focused idea of what this book was going to be, and thanks in no small part to their past collaborative efforts I’m sure, this book seems to have a great drive and is very determined (see, I’m giving the inanimate object lifelike characteristics, kind of like that Injection thing- you know, from this comic book) to accomplish EXACTLY what it was intended to do.
The strangeness hasn’t worn off, but for this issue at least, the “oh so British” vibe that had really been seeping off the pages in the earlier issues wasn’t there. Which isn’t to say that this is a bad thing, I like that the book has become a bit more insular than just the British township where these people currently reside. Which also means more for the story’s growing scope, because this thing they call “Injection” seems to be everywhere, not just from the North Country.
This is a book that is definitely not meant to just be sprung on the unsuspecting reader, but anyone with a bit of knowledge of Warren Ellis’ talents will know (to an extent) what kind of story he would be crafting here, and should be capable of bracing themselves for what is to come. I think that if you haven’t given this book a chance, you most certainly should- because it is eerie, strange, unique and very charming.