Book #7 – Injection

It’s not technically a graphic novel, I guess, so much as a collection of a series of comics that appeared in a run. Don’t be a snob about whether this counts as a “book” or not. It’s got different demands and expectations of the reader than an all-text volume, but it’s no less rigorous. In fact, in many ways (depending on the artist, concepts, etc.) comics are often more rigorous than an all-text book. This collection by Warren Ellis is a good example of that kind of book.

It’s not technically a graphic novel, I guess, so much as a collection of a series of comics that appeared in a run. Don’t be a snob about whether this counts as a “book” or not. It’s got different demands and expectations of the reader than an all-text volume, but it’s no less rigorous. In fact, in many ways (depending on the artist, concepts, etc.) comics are often more rigorous than an all-text book. This collection by Warren Ellis is a good example of that kind of book.

Honestly, I am super tired and trying to catch up with the things I have read recently, so though I feel bad about not giving Injection a more fulsome writeup, I’ll say just a few things.

  1. Warren Ellis is an amazing writer. I love how he takes risks with his material to try new things. And even though he has a lot of recurring themes (e.g. the competing authority of government and corporations; the nature of human greed and how far people will go), almost all of his work manages to make those ideas fresh. Sure, there are some misses in his gigantic body of work, but Injection isn’t one of those.
  2. The plot device, while intriguing, doesn’t make a ton of sense. But that’s okay. Usually I’m very critical of books that employ a stupid McGuffin to advance the plot. But this manages to do a good job while still, if you really think about it, doesn’t make a ton of sense given the explanation. I won’t spoil it, but it’s really a distraction overall from the book itself.
  3. The multiple character threads are pretty awesome. The book diverges into telling the stories of several folks who are (in some/many different ways) dealing with their own situations as well as the McGuffin. This is one of the very best things about the book. You don’t really know it’s branching while reading, but find out as it goes along.
  4. The art is very cool and helps the story along. I definitely don’t have the time or energy right now to put down the thoughts I have about the many ways that art helps and hurts (and sometimes both) sequential fiction. Enough to say it’s very good here, and clearly a product of extensive collaboration between Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey.

I’d read it again, for sure. As with many of Ellis’ works, I feel like it demands careful consideration as you try to figure out what he’s up to really. What tea leaves is he reading? What sophisticated underlying messages is he trying to communicate? And when will Trees come back?

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