World Comic Book Review

A Deep Six’d Publication

21st May 2022

Injection Vol 1 (Review)

“Injection” Vol 1 (review)
Image Comics, July 2016
Writer: Warren Ellis

British writer Warren Ellis has been intensely prolific over the past year, penning the following titles:

a. “Trees“, another Image Comics publication;
b. James Bond – Vargr;
c. a title for Marvel Comics, “Moon Knight”;
d. another title for Marvel Comics, “Karnak”;
d. a novel entitled “Normal”.

“Injection” is the latest from Mr Ellis, and it consists of his trade mark dense concepts and dry wit. But Mr Ellis is treading on old ground in other ways, too.

If you were to squint long enough, “Injection” is a blurred, fuzzy, contemporary and bleaker version of Mr Ellis’ wondrous title, “Planetary” (1998-2009, Wildstorm Comics). In “Planetary”, three (and sometimes four) archeologists explore mysteries each of which have a core in popular culture. These range from pulp heroes from the 1930s to Japanese monster movies to American and English superheroes.

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She Wolf – Spell Number One: Shapeshifting

“She Wolf – Spell Number One: Shapeshifting”
(Image Comics, June 2016)
Writer: Rich Tommaso

This comic is something more than a suburban tale of teenage witchcraft, but it is hard to define what that advancement on such a well-worked concept is.

“She Wolf” is a story about a teenager living near a place called Tomahawk Lake and attending Sparta High School. The North American location is not otherwise described but it is all suggestive of a semi-rural location, an ordinary American town located near the woods. The teenager, Gabby, bears scars down her face. These are apparently the consequence of being raked by a werewolf named Brian, a classmate.

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Project Nemesis #1-6 (review)

Project Nemesis #1-6 (review)
(American Gothic Press, October 2015 – June 2016)
Writer: Jeremy Robinson

American Gothic Press’ “Project Nemesis” is a comic book adaptation of the same-titled novel. “Project Nemesis” starts with two plot springboards:

a. the murder of a young Japanese girl named Maigo; and
b. the discovery of what seems like the fossilized remains of an ancient giant reptile (fans of the Japanese “kaiju” genre, discussed further below, will recognize the fossil as being similar to Hollywood’s first attempt to adapt the “Godzilla” franchise) by a character named General Lance Gordon and two accomplices, one of which is killed onsite in order to keep the whole thing under wraps.

The comic then segues to introducing the protagonist, Jon Hudson. Hudson is a lead investigator for the United States Department of Homeland Security’s “Fusion Center-P”. This unit is considered by other agents as a joke because it handles paranormal threats to national security (recalling shades of the television series “The X-Files”). The story finds Hudson and a sheriff named Collins reluctantly hunting down a sasquatch.

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Death Head: The Doctor Will See You Now

Death Head #1 – 6 (review)
Dark Horse Comics, July 2015 – February 2016
Writers: Zack Keller, Nick Keller

In the 17th and 18th centuries, medical physicians in Europe who treated victims of the bubonic plague wore beak-like masks with glass eye openings, the design of which was attributed to Louis XIII’s chief physician Charles De Lorme. The masks contained various scented materials and straw intended to filter putrid air, which doctors of the time believed was the primary vehicle for the plague.

This practical purpose of the beak masks was probably unknown to the people the medics treated. The mask coupled with the heavy waxed fabric overcoat that some (not all) plague doctors used would have made for a menacing visual, which given the context, most likely made the physicians an unwelcome sight to their patients – a portent of doom in the shape of a human carrion bird.

The plague doctor, both in image and in history, lay at the center of the six-issue horror miniseries “Death Head”. Written by brothers Zack and Nick Keller, this eerie horror story feels like a love letter to various horror movie sub genres, while working within the constraints of the comic book medium.

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