Comic Review: Harvest #1 / Writer: AJ Lieberman / Art: Colin Lorimer / Publisher: Image Comics / Release Date: Out Now
We had high hopes for Image Comics’ new five issue mini-series Harvest, but writer AJ Lieberman unfortunately falls somewhat short of them, at least with the title’s inaugural issue. Harvest #1 contains all the raw material necessary to make a truly spectacular comic, but that potential remains untapped by the book’s end, leaving the reader with a formulaic narrative and the hope that the next issue will be better.
As harsh as that criticism may be, it is worth noting that first issues for original comics – ones that don’t involve legacy characters with decades of publishing history to back them up – can be tough. With Harvest #1, Lieberman struggles to balance setting up a plot and introducing his central characters with crafting an imaginative story.
The book starts off with a nondescript hooded man walking into a corner store and buying every bag of ice in stock as well as the grocer’s hand truck, which he then wheels to a boarded up, seemingly abandoned warehouse. Inside, we find a makeshift, questionably sanitary operating room. Whatever happens in this room, it’s not covered by your basic insurance plan.
The story jumps from this suitably creepy introduction to the black market organ harvest to a tableau of suburban normalcy. As a harried mother packs lunches for her children to take to school, an air of foreboding invades the routine and their happiness is all the more ominous for how out of place it is. Harvest #1 is no place for children and it’s hardly surprising when this happy family meets with a less than happy end.
Once the surgeon we saw earlier meets his own predictably gruesome fate, we’re finally introduced to the series’ protagonist, Dane, a pill-popping, booze-swigging, prostitute-loving doctor who, in another predictable turn of events, loses his medical license. Hard up for cash, Dane is easy prey for the shady characters looking to recruit him for their organ harvesting business. Dane himself is something of an anti-hero, but his loathsome qualities are so generic that it’s hard to muster anything more than the mildest interest in his storyline.
Artist Colin Lorimer is the book’s real hero and his work brings a sophisticated grittiness to the proceedings. Hopefully, now that those pesky details like character introduction and plot foundation are out of the way, September’s Harvest #2 will tap into the potential Lieberman hints at in this first installment.