The first story arc of “Injection” felt mythic and dreamlike as Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire introduced us to the Injection, a strange gestalt of artificial intelligence and a supernatural force from another realm. However, as the second story arc progresses, “Injection” #7 feels as though the series has already turned its menace into a catch-all for anything with even the slightest supernatural feel, and that’s not a change for the better.
“Injection” #7 picks up immediately where the last issue left off, with a shootout involving human meat that was snuck into someone’s sandwich fixings and a ghost that has left the photograph it once inhabited. Both of these plot threads are ideas that feel like they can easily warrant their own story with the proper attention and care. Instead, we get some snappy one-liners from Vivek Headland and the occasional moment meant to shock, like talking about vaginal ectoplasm. While the first storyline in “Injection” felt light at plot at times, at least there was a strong atmosphere present to provide a certain level of charm. Here, with those elements mostly absent, there’s little else to fall back on. The Injection’s presence — what little there is — comes across less as a dangerous, terrifying force and more like a method to shoehorn in any story Ellis feels like telling. That’s unfortunately not a decision that works, at least not for this second story arc.
What is working, though, is Shalvey and Bellaire’s art. Shalvey continues to draw some handsome looking characters, and he definitely understands action, too. The characters are given a soft and attractive ink line to give them features that are curved but not overly rounded, and Bellaire’s deep, rich hues make them almost pop off the page; the coloring never draws attention to itself, even as it looks exquisite. That said, after the amazing outdoors scenes that Shalvey and Bellaire regularly created in the first five issues — with everything from fog rolling in to thousands of autumn leaves scattered along the ground — the book feels a little too mundane this time around. So far, there isn’t anything for Shalvey and Bellaire to work on that is out of the ordinary, although hopefully that will change in future issues. Still, they do the absolute best they can with the scenes they’re given, and they’re all immensely attractive.
“Injection” #7 feels like a series that’s starting to slow down, and that’s frustrating, especially considering the pedigree of its creators. The first story arc was slow-moving but had a great sense of mood throughout it. Two chapters into the second one, we’re slow-moving again, but the atmosphere is absent. Maybe next issue will pick up when the rest of the main cast enters the story, but — for now — it’s just not quite there.