The end of the world is coming. We don't know when, we don't know how -- but it is. But what if you did know who did it? What if it was you?
At its heart, that's the conceit of the new Image Comics series Injection by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire. Hitting shelves on Wednesday, Injection is a creative continuation of the trio's work on Marvel's Moon Knight series but in their own creator-owned world.
If their Moon Knight focused on "weird crime," Injection is about "weird science." Mixing science fiction, science fact and horror, the series follows five geniuses who inadvertently set in motion the end of the world and are now trying to turn back the doomsday clock.
Newsarama spoke with Shalvey about the series, from giving Ellis the impetus to write this story to Shalvey illustrating and overseeing the finished product with colorist Jordie Bellaire and letterer/designer Fonografiks.
Newsarama: Declan, what do people need to know about Injection?
Declan Shalvey: Basically, it's a new Image series by myself, Warren and Jordie, with lettering and design by Fonografiks. It's an ongoing series following members of a now-disbanded team who were part of a secret think-tank for the United Kingdom’s government. As Warren puts it, they did a Very Bad Thing and now some time later, we're reaping the fallout. Each of them knows they have to try stop it, but how....?
Nrama: You three are coming off working on Marvel's Moon Knight together, but I'm sure doing something with Warren again wasn't a given. What was it about this story that convinced you to not only draw it, but jump into creator-owned work again?
Shalvey: Well actually, he didn't pitch me a story, like some have before. He pitched me further collaboration. We'd done a few issues on Moon Knight at that stage and had seemed to work well together. I was just hoping he didn't hate what I was doing! At one stage I mentioned I was considering doing something creator-owned after Moon Knight and that's when he offered to write something for me, which was amazing. Last thing I was expecting. I've been sent pitches before, but here was a crazy situation where Warren Ellis was offering to write a project that would suit my interests, rather than trying to pair me with a previous script. That's a once-in-a-lifetime offer as far as I'm concerned, and I jumped on it.
I was also glad Warren was open to something a little more long-form. Moon Knight was quick and punchy (and a hell of a lot of fun). Given the opportunity however, I wanted to build something that was a little more expansive, having done a lot of short arcs at Marvel/Vertigo over the last few years. Having the option of doing a more elaborate project, with Warren Ellis of all people, was huge for me.
Nrama: What is the communication like between you and Warren for Injection? Is it all pretty much in the script, or is there back and forth outside of that?
Shalvey: It's all pretty much in the script. No real back and forth, except for the odd question on my end. There was a lot of back and forth originally, about what I enjoyed drawing, the type of comics I likes, the TV/film I watched, etc. We basically made a big mixing pot of what interested/influenced me and Warren took that away and prepared it. Now, he serves my soup each month, but I never really know what the flavor will be. God that's an awful metaphor, but it's all I got. I generally like to know everything that's coming, but similar to how we worked on Moon Knight, I'd be flying blind until I get the script, but each script has a brand new challenge, so in a way I think it works that I didn't know what's coming as it forces me to do a better job with each issue. We'd worked out a good system on Moon Knight I think, and Injection is a continuation of that.
Nrama: Being creator-owned, I assume you have more control on the art direction of the book. What's that like, not only drawing it but being able to control even more?
Shalvey: It's unbelievably satisfying. To Marvel's credit, we had a lot of input with the look of Moon Knight but with Injection, I got to do whatever I liked. I generally would come up with some ideas, send them to Warren, Jordie and Fonografiks, and Fonografiks would come back with something that took my idea and make it way better. Of, he's have some ideas of his own that were just way better than mine. Regardless, we got to work together to make what is without a doubt the most beautifully packaged series I've ever worked on. Just as an object, I'm delighted with the first issue.
Also, with the regular variant “Haunted” cover, it's cool to actually do a cover that's so washed out, it's hard to see. So many covers are competing for your attention, using a variant cover to do the opposite is an interesting experiment and we can just do it because it's our book. It's very liberating to just try something different and see how it goes, rather than having to try convince someone into it.
Nrama: Getting into the book itself, what does the title, "Injection," refer to?
Shalvey: I'm afraid for that answer you'll have to pick up the book. It will be revealed over the course of the first arc though.
Nrama: Can you tell us who are the five people who lead the book?
Shalvey: The character who introduces us to this world is Maria Kilbride, a genius scientist. In #1 we also meet Brigid Roth, a sort of tech wizard/hacker extraordinaire and Robin Morel, an expert in history and mythology, who is very much trying to fight against the shadow of his family trade. In flashbacks, we'll also meet Simeon Winters, a British secret agent, and Vivek Headland, a highly qualified detective. We'll get to see more of them in #2. They're all displaced, so the story hops location from the UK, Ireland and New York, yet we see how some are still tied to others.
Nrama: What drives them exactly?
Shalvey: Self-preservation I'd imagine! The world will end if they do nothing, and it's all their fault! I suppose there's an element of guilt too....
Nrama: What is the main focus of this first arc?
Shalvey: We're introduced to all their characters and how they're all coming around to the realization that Something Has To Be Done. We move from present day to various Pre-Injection flashbacks, so we get to see different, younger versions of the characters and build up a better picture of them. We slowly get to see how twisted and surreal the effect the Injection is having on our world.
Nrama: And what do you think people should look forward to most about this?
Shalvey: I think if you like some creepy, world building with some inventive storytelling, and gorgeous, lush coloring, this is the book for you. Also; I happen to be drawing it. To be blunt, if you liked our run on Moon Knight, I think it's safe to assume you'll enjoy Injection. It's not the same book by any means (in many big ways it's quite different) but there's certainly an approach in the execution that is quite similar. Also, I can guarantee you this series will bring lots of weird.