Welcome to The Pull List, a weekly column where we check out a first issue of a new series and tell you whether or not to follow the comic based only on that. This week I checked out Warren Ellis’ Injection, where ancient powers and modern technology meet at the near-end-of-days.
There’s an edge to Injection reminiscent of Hollywood blockbuster or HBO specials you’ve waited entire seasons for. The first issue is a slow but panoramic start to a series that hints at explosivity up its sleeves, and follows a group of British specialists tasked with stopping a global threat they’d unwittingly unleashed years earlier during an experimental archaeological expedition, a threat called the Injection.
Warren Ellis keeps the plot wonderfully paced as he did with Trees, in which the series’ gargantuan extraterrestrial trees seemed to do nothing at all–that is, until they did. There’s that same sense of tightly-sprung action written into Injection, communicated by punchy scenes (the opening images of an asylum called Sawlung, staffed by gimp-masked hospital guards) and engaging prose (“She dreams of those infinite childhood Augusts when she didn’t know anything and nothing was coming…”) that we’ve come to associate with the acclaimed writer. He’s certainly one of those creators that can sell books just by announcing his involvement in it, but to Injection‘s credit, there’s more to it than mere star power.
We’re introduced to the main protagonists, each of whom, according to interviews with Ellis, will spearhead their own portion of the overall narrative. Issue #1 does a great job convincing that each can hold your interest as a main character, whether by highlighting Professor Kilbride’s (the inmate of the opening scenes) haggard intensity, resident esotericist Robin Morel’s hidden and probably arcane potency, and tech wunderkind Brigid Roth’s cyberpunk snark.
As to the nature of the Injection itself, Ellis and the visual team of Declan Shalvie and Jordie Bellaire investigate only the fringes of what it involves, but even that is piquing enough. The focus on British nationality suggests ties to the region’s rich, indigenous history, and the only concrete peek we have of the event is a page or two of abstract and starkly ominous design by Shalvie and Bellaire, something momentous as lightning over Stonehenge and mysterious as the deep sea.
Concretely, Injection #1 gives you precious little to go by–just snatches of a grander whole that will, judging by Warren Ellis’ track record, surely coalesce into a jaw-dropper. Judging from his comments, the ultimate conflict will explore the ways in which current issues dovetail with recurring historical themes, and how global doom is impending, but visible only to the paranoid.