Thanks to the actions of a large corporation attempting to exploit its resources, the planet has become infected and, when someone and something turn up missing thanks to these actions, the company brings back the individuals tasked with fixing such mishaps in Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey’s “Injection” #1. The introduction to this ongoing series repeatedly refers verbally, visually and cryptically to an “injection” of some kind that has played a role in the frightening and horrific incidents shown later in this issue. Ellis throws in vague and cryptic references aplenty and the exact nature of the story remains elusive, but these mysteries help Ellis and Shalvey establish a basis for the series that makes it attractive enough to lure readers back.
Shalvey opens up the issue with a series of horizontal panels, all with a centered subject, overlaid with third person captions by Ellis, which reveals the nature of Maria Kilbride, one of the issue’s protagonists. Combined with Shalvey’s page structure, Jordie Bellaire’s subdued colors and Fonografiks’ bold, yellow letters immediately evoke a unique kind of atmosphere — not really one with a discernible purpose, but one that nonetheless establishes a unique mood for Ellis’ story. A worn and disheveled Kilbride is effectively characterized by Ellis’ dialogue as having some mental issues, but she also comes across as a character who hasn’t just been committed and abandoned. Ellis uses the sequence to provide some degree of backstory, although it requires further reading before much sense can be made from it.
A brief flashback follows and introduces the other presumed central characters, although not all are seen in present day. Two of them are subsequently brought into the issue later, though, and go a long way towards piecing together the scope of Ellis’ story. Once these players are given their intros, Shalvey gets the opportunity to show off with some interesting imagery; what appears to be a door simply opening to another room turns out to be something far greater and possibly extra-dimensional. Whatever it is, Shalvey and Bellaire give readers a romp through this otherworldly landscape for a few pages; it doesn’t deliver any answers, but the questions it poses help sell the next issue.
Shalvey and Bellaire deliver a grotesque finale, which Ellis complements with a darkly comedic cliche that anyone who’s ever called tech support has heard before. All of the intriguing art and ethereal verbiage make for a roundabout approach towards asking readers to stick around, but it works well enough. “Injection” #1 is a convincing start to something big, even if it’s not readily apparent as to what that exactly is.