Harvest is one of the latest from Image Comics, who have been making quite a strong showing these last few years, 2012 especially. From A.J. Lieberman and Colin Lorimer comes the story of Ben Dane, a former surgeon who had his license revoked after losing a patient while on drugs. After his disgrace, Ben is approached by a man named Craven who wants Ben to work for him now, performing black market organ transplants. Ben eventually gets out of this world and as a way of atonement starts taking back all the organs he had previously transplanted.
In this first issue, we get a scene where an unnamed man, later seen to be Ben Dane, is taking organs from a restrained and captive man, and he’s sending a message by doing so. Cut to ten months earlier where we see a family getting ready to leave their house and the interaction between the children, one of which will play a role later in the book. The setting then moves to an operating room where a man named Robert is having misgivings about what he’s doing, which leads to his murder by a woman named Greer. Ben Dane’s fall from grace is next, followed by his meeting with a lawyer who can’t do much to help him. Ben performs a surgery for the Yakuza and afterward is approached by Craven and Greer for his new job.
I’m not very familiar with Lieberman’s work, so this was something of a first peek at his writing style for me. I wasn’t blown away, but I also wasn’t disappointed. Lieberman shows solid writing and storytelling in this issue. There is a bit of a problem with pacing, since it seems like the events switch around a bit too fast, but maybe that’s his intended effect. His characters definitely have much room to develop, but that’s what the rest of the series is for. My major complaint is just that it seems as if too many events happen too quickly.
Lorimer’s art is beautiful. It’s beautifully detailed, reminiscent of the stylings of Brian Hitch. The art makes a stronger showing than the writing, in my opinion. The art fits the book well, making the darker and more sinister scenes moody and ominous, and keeping the lighter, family scenes, bright and cheerful. I enjoyed the art immensely and don’t think it distracted at all.
The panel layouts were something I really enjoyed and thought they were interesting and effective on a few pages. There were pages where the panels were overlayed on a larger background image, and I really enjoyed it. This choice to do things a bit outside the normal grid of panels was a good one, and one that enhanced the overall read of the book.
Overall, it’s not a bad first issue, in fact, I think it’s above average, I’m just not in love with it. The art was wonderful and some stylistic choices were great, but the writing just didn’t quite do it for me. Still, I think I’ll stick around for the entire miniseries. It’s a promising enough start and an interesting enough story where I think I’ll be around until the end unless they just do something terrible with the book. If you’re fan of Image Comics and want a story that’s a bit out of the ordinary, give it a look.
Parental concern: Moderate. There’s a lot of blood and definitely some guts, though not in a violent way.
In addition to reviewing here at SMC, Leo is one half of the Panel Pals Podcast, where he podcasts and blogs about comics, webcomics, video games, and more!