Writer Warren Ellis has a certain style that I’ve grown accustomed to. His tough-talking characters, often prone to swearing, insulting, and the occasional bout of extreme violence, live in a world where weird stuff happens and their cynicism is challenged on a routine basis. He tends to prefer short story arcs that add up to more, and he seems to enjoy casts made up of brilliant misfits.
The Image series Injection seems to continue this pattern.
Set in mostly in Britain, Injection chronicles five people who came together on a simple-sounding project to improve the world and ended up causing even bigger problems. Scientist Maria, mathematician/ethicist Vivek, strategist/secret agent Simeon, computer engineer Brigid, and folklorist/potential cunning man Robin came together to prevent what they saw as boredom. The group was predicting a leveling off of innovation, and as such, they wanted something that would keep the 21st century interesting. What they came up with was a non-biological intelligence they called the Injection. Since then, the Injection has been causing weird stuff around the world, and the five are trying to clean up the mess they caused.
The first trade focuses mostly on Maria and Robin. Maria seems to have suffered a mental breakdown, and her character seems the most changed from the flashbacks where the five put the Injection together. Robin comes from a long line of “cunning men and women,” or an English version of a shaman. He could be some kind of wizard, but didn’t follow that path for some as-yet unstated reason. The Injection seems to be working with a lot of folklore itself, so his general knowledge proves a bit more indispensable, especially since he may be a bit more responsible than the others for the creation of the Injection in the first place.
Ellis is joined by artist Declan Shalvey on this, and the two work well together. That said, as much as this first trade was good, it did remind me a bit of other Ellis projects, most particularly Planetary and to a lesser extent Global Frequency with the characters discovering the weird but working separately. Each of the five has different skills that come into play during the course of the initial trade to one degree or another, though much of Ellis’ signature style of meshing high-minded science and philosophy into a more pulp story doesn’t set it out as well from his usual body of work. Eight out of ten pixie attacks.