Harvest hit so hard last month because I had read nothing else like it; the story it told of rogue doctors drugging and harvesting doomed individuals of their organs was utterly unique, as was the way in which it was drawn and written by Lorimer and Liberman respectively. That freshness though was never going to be there to carry this follow-up issue; not through any fault of the two creators but just because that is how the world works, you can never go home again nor do you ever get a second first time ( unless you’re Saga). So I was a little worried, now that the characters and concept of the book were solidly set in stone would the experience of the second issue be anywhere near as impactful as the first?
The answer to that question changes depending on what you term impact. The medical violence that shocked me the most in the first issue is mostly gone – there is one such scene but to describe it would spoil something – in its place though is potent but much more standard shocking fare; splash panels of sex and a macguyverred explosion. The kid that appeared in the final shot of the first issue doesn’t just disappear when Dan wakes as I thought he would, a flash of a past family perhaps, but instead stays around and speaks to him, swearing on occasion. It’s weird, it’s shocking, it has an impact but none of it quite on the same level; I think perhaps because the story itself is a lot safer this time around.
This sophomore issue in the five part series cements the concept and characters that were only hinted at in the first comic: Dr.Dale is a down and out surgeon recruited to rend organs from the bodies of the poor for the benefit of the rich, a life that he doesn’t seem overly pleased to be a part of, thus the constant referencing of ‘revenge’ in the promotional material. This issue then plays a lot like one would imagine that the first should have; we need this re-introduction to the world now not because we don’t remember the original one, or because it was too complex for a single comic but because the first issue had a different set of priorities and thus spent the majority of its time relaying events of the past and future rather than those of the present.
While it was one of the things that worked most for me in the first issue I was not as convinced by the choppy storytelling this time around. We leap from scene to scene, setting to setting and time to time almost once a page and it’s really a bit much; at this stage the narrative loses as much as it gains from non-linearity. If it wasn’t for the clear and distinguishing art style of Colin Lorimer then I’m not sure how well I would have been able to follow the story, or if I could have at all. Thankfully then his settings are detailed and striking enough to shout their uses and his characters’ faces expressive enough to fill in any blanks left by the script; he keeps us in the loop.
Another example of Lieberman kicking us out of it, of the comics cohesion issues comes when John Ashcroft makes another appearance, though he isn’t referred to by that name or any of the previous pseudonyms use, no this time they simply call him Bob. Now, I’m not sure if this is a sign my comprehension is suffering or that the book is being needlessly confusing about an arbitrary point within a minor subplot. It could be that there is a point to it, that Lieberman is doing something playful, but until I know what that is I can’t see this as anything but needless overcomplexity.
The pacing of the main plot though is brisk and bluntly to the point: Dr.Dane (a very fun name) learns about the Harvest organization, begins working for them, suspects that something is slightly off about it all, quits in a blaze of glory and begins the attempted revenge that we saw him right in the middle of when we first started the series. I was expecting this to be the end point of the story, that we would slowly work our way back to it, but I see now that we may in fact pass it by the half-way point. This, more than any of the contrived clues, gets me interested in what is still to come; simply knowing that the scope of the story is larger than I expected is exciting. Now I can’t wait to see how just how big.
So while this may have seemed like a mostly negative review know that it’s not, It’s just that I had such high expectations and it failed to meet these, but it still intrigued me plenty. I’m still hooked on Harvest and will be there with blood on when issue three is released. I’m happy with Lorimer’s work and if Lieberman can manage to somehow tie this story together in a way that makes these moments of confusion worthwhile than I will be more than willing to concede to him, but until he does that I have to say what I thought about the story in the moment and in this case that is: It was missing something, kidney perhaps and satisfaction certainly.