Written by Warren Ellis and Drawn by Declan Shalvey
Written by Phil Hester and Drawn by John McCrea
Published by Image Comics
Reviewed by Marc Mason
What does Image Comics do best?
Give top-notch creative talents the freedom to do whatever they want to do. And when that works… damn, does it work well. Such as in the case of two new outstanding books that have hit shelves in the past couple of weeks.
There are those who still mourn Warren Ellis’ masterpiece PLANETARY, and those people should go buy a copy of INJECTION #1 immediately. Set in modern Britain and revolving around a group of people whose charge was to explore the strange and unknown, INJECTION most assuredly has a bit of the old Planetary flavor going for it, minus the superpowered humans. Indeed, the characters here are all too human. Maria Kilbride, the leader, is currently in a mental hospital due to her work. Robin Morel has become detached from humanity and attached to the land, forsaking anything like responsibility to his fellow man. Brigid Roth has become a reclusive computer hacker, drowning herself in a bottle.
Yet in flashback, we see that this is not who these people were meant to be. What went wrong? What destroyed them?
Ellis isn’t telling, beyond the hint he gives with the title of the book: The Injection. Whatever it was, it had staggering consequences for our would-be heroes.
Layering mystery upon mystery, Ellis’ script captivates the reader, but as good as the writing is, the book goes up by numerous notches when you throw in the art by Shalvey (and Jordie Bellaire’s colors). The entire comic is truly a work of art. Gorgeous pages galore for the eye to feast upon. There is very little waste here, and each page is worth examining carefully to see what Shalvey put in and what he left out, as it provides keys to story and character. In short, I loved everything about this. Can’t wait to read the next one.
In the past I have referred to Phil Hester as comics’ most underrated talent, a guy who just makes everything better. John McCrea was the artist of HITMAN, a comic I consider a desert island need, one I will reread over and over for the rest of my life.
MYTHIC #1 brings the two together to work on the same series. How could it be anything less than awesome?
Answer: it can’t. It’s awesome.
MYTHIC introduces us to a trio of characters who work for Mythic Lore Support, and for lack of a better way of putting it, they are essentially janitors who clean up after magic when it goes astray. In this world, science is merely a smokescreen for magic’s true role at the heart of the universe, and it’s science that helps most humans cope. That alone is a nice zinger from the creators, satirizing religious zealotry with a wink and a smile.
After a cool prelude, we jump ahead to the crew being stationed at Yellowstone, investigating a lack of rain. To tell you their solution would be criminal, but needless to say, when the story gets around to telling the reader why there’s no rain, it’s a laugh out loud funny moment in a book already full of them.
With a clever concept, a witty script, and amazing art, Hester and McCrea show that they are as formidable as any duo working together in comics right now. This book is a gas from start to finish. It’ll be at the top of the reading stack with each successive issue.