‘Injection’ comic is about these weird, weird times

Injection, the newest series by Eagle Award-winner Warren Ellis, is the story of five crazy people poisoning the entire 21st century to the point that reality is decaying and the world is becoming too weird to support human life. That’s a description that is just vague and unsettling enough to make me pick it up at the store.

Of course, with only the first issue released, I have more questions than answers, but that’s what’s so fun about reading Injection.

If you’ll indulge my reference, Injection is an awful lot like Torchwood—a little gory but still nothing like Nailbiter—and absolutely fraught with secrets. The issue, which isn’t even 20 pages long, begins in medias res with one of the series’ five eccentric geniuses in a mental institution, though I’ll say that I got the impression she was more of a political prisoner.

With little to no backstory, the reader really has to play catch-up with the characters. There are a few flashbacks, but all that tells you is that there are five main characters, that Maria Killbride’s obsession with sandwiches isn’t a new thing, and that someone got a tattoo.

And that’s something else that is pretty special about Injection that I can tell even now: Warren Ellis’ writing and Declan Shalvey’s art play well together. You really can’t just speed through this series because the art itself, and all the little hints and clues, need attention. Just in time for finals, this comic makes you engage in critical thinking, but it’s actually fun to read.

Image’s description of Injection really makes it sound like it’s supposed to have some kind of social commentary about the problems we have now, but it’s starting to look like a lot like a mix of all sorts of horror and science fiction subgenres. There’s no useless gore and the book features a diverse cast, which is all I ask for from a good book.

The whole issue has a ring of apathetic pessimism, that sort of outlook that the horrible is mundane and therefore easily managed. Vortex? Okay. Living dead? Sounds like any other Monday. It’s just the right amount of dark magical realism for the intermittent spring showers plaguing us these last couple weeks.

This time of year already has a kind of magic to it: the sharp press of lightning and the sudden shift of heat to gray clouds and back again, like a constant cycle between alternate universes.

That same kind of feeling oozes between the pages of Injection, in the world-building of Maria’s acquisition failure and Robin’s familial history of “Cunning” and “Breakers.” It’s the gray skies of Britain and auburn leaves, and it’s the close walls of computer rooms and mental institutions.