Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"I am Headland. I am offended by your ham, sir."
We'll return to the porcine proclamation but first let me introduce Vivek Headland properly. He's, shall we say, a loving homage to the greatest consulting detective of them all, and this arc follows him almost exclusively as he attempts to crack the mysterious and mildly titillating case of a man apparently having sex with the ghost of his late wife.
A former member of the Cross Culture Contamination Unit, whose purpose was to research possible futures on behalf of the British government, Vivek's therefore one of the five people who thought injecting an artificial life form directly into the internet to spice things up a bit might be a good idea. Unfortunately, given the Injection has started to mess around with the human race and perhaps even reality itself - albeit on a very small experimental scale for now, at least - it's starting to look like a somewhat rash decision. But, from Headland's point of view, it's certainly made the world a less boring place, which was partly his motivation for wanting to administer the Injection.
At this point, you might want to catch up with Stephen's review of INJECTION VOL 1.
So, the ham... Don't worry, I'll get back to the ghostly sex in a minute, I realise that's more exciting than the bad pork product but the pig is key to the plot, trust me, you blithering buffoon, Watson - I mean, dear reader. For much like a certain detective's encyclopaedic knowledge of tobacco scents and various other trivial topics apparently utterly tangential but in fact absolutely crucial to curtailing criminal endeavours, Headland is an aficionado of, amongst many other things, meat. The two pages of flashbacks relating to his accumulation of knowledge on the topic of human flesh, including a very cheeky cameo from the Dalai Llama, provoked by a most perturbed question from his personal chef is one of my favourite sequences in this volume.
"Sir? How did you know? Because the only way I can see is that you know what human meat tastes like."
"A full education is crucial to a complete life, chef."
I'm enjoying Warren's writing on this series immensely, just as much as his speculative, slow-building, post-alien-invasion yarn TREES. With both series Warren is clearly taking his time setting up his considerable cast of characters, plus building up the mystery, which hopefully means he's settling in for a long run on both. I'm still adjusting to Declan Shalvey's minimal angular art here, I have to reluctantly say, coloured as it is by the ever excellent Jordie Bellaire. Just a personal thing. In fact, it reunites the team that put out, sadly, just one excellent volume of MOON KNIGHT: FROM THE DEAD together.
Shalvey really doesn't seem to like putting in much background detail which I find a touch distracting myself, but I think it's certainly a bit churlish of me to get hung up on that. You know what it's like, though: when you've spotted something, you can't then unobserve it. A friend recently pointed out to me how Rafa Nadal seems to have a nervous habit of pulling his pants out of his behind between every single point and, sure enough, the Mallorcan maestro is indeed seemingly a chronic sufferer from bum-crack-climbing undergarments. Just thought I'd share that with you so you too can be similarly afflicted...
So, back to the ghost sex. Headland instantly knows the Injection is involved, of course, he's was in no doubt about that from the start. The fascinating question for him, though, is why has the Injection chosen to mess with this particular individual? Along the way he'll have to deal with various idiotic interferences such as a fanatical cult-like group who have become aware of the Injection and are convinced it is the mythical Philosopher's Stone, capable of gifting immortality to those who posses it, and thus will stop at nothing to acquire it. Seems like Headland's going to get that uplift in excitement he's been craving!
Looking forward to the third arc already.