Pulp #637

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Pulp #637

Well hey there, everyone! Hope you’ve all had a fun ol’ time since the last PULP – I had the pleasure of attending Supanova on the 17th, and there’s nothing quite like a convention devoted to all things nerdy to recharge the creative batteries. Now, to business!

I want to preface this week’s column by saying one thing: nothing excites me quite like a publishing company that’s willing to put themselves out there and take risks with their storytelling. I’ve been a big fan of Image’s titles for quite a while now, and this week’s comic has only solidified them as one of, if not the, most innovative comic publishers out there at the moment.

This week, I picked up the first volume of Warren Ellis’ new series, Injection, drawn by his partner-in-crime from Moon Knight, Declan Shalvey. While I am unashamedly an Ellis fanboy (I feel like I’ve mentioned it far too many times; Transmetropolitan is literally my favourite comic ever), I was thrown by how much I enjoyed it.

The book’s blurb sums the storyline up pretty well: Once upon a time, there were five crazy people and they poisoned the 21st century.

When the world’s most dangerous think tank gets together, big things are sure to happen. A certifiable genius, a super spy, a Holmes-esque private detective, a technical wizard and an actual wizard; these are the members of the Cultural Cross-Contamination Unit, and they’re paid to predict the future. When they discover that innovation is set to stagnate and eventually die out, they decide to give the future a jumpstart by creating something entirely new: an AI, powered by something not of this world. Unfortunately (and really, rather predictably) things don’t go as planned, and now reality is unravelling around them. Despite scattering across the globe, the members of the CCCU continue the fight against their otherworldly offspring.

If these plot points sound a little familiar, you’re correct; Injection is essentially Age of Ultron meets B.P.R.D or Hellboy, and it works better than I could ever have imagined. While it is initially a little difficult to pick up on, Ellis’ story is engaging, mysterious and trippy all at once. A big part of the otherworldly, almost Lovecraftian appeal is Shalvey’s artwork; the impressive splash landscapes that made Moon Knight so great are on full display, and create the perfect atmosphere for a story that straddles genres.

Injection is part sci-fi, part Lovecraftian horror and part fairytale and despite how odd that sounds, it’s a combination that works really, really well. There’s nothing quite like seeing a physicist take on an eldritch horror and rationalise the whole experience as a scientific phenomenon whilst wielding a magic sword powered by batteries. It’s a bizarre mix, for sure, but I can’t really do it justice; it’s the kind of book that you’d need to read yourself to fully appreciate. It’s undoubtedly a strange book, but it’s the kind of story I could easily get into long-term. It also reminds me a little of The Wicked + the Divine, though I’m not entirely sure why – I have a feeling it’s the mixture of paranormal and technological concepts. In any case, comparisons with The Wicked + the Divine are not a bad thing; if anything, it’s a sign of quality!

If it wasn’t already obvious, I highly recommend Injection – it takes some great ideas and runs wild. Shalvey’s artwork is (as always) excellent, and paired with Ellis’ writing makes for a fantastic read.

Written by Alastair McGibbon