I’m quickly becoming a huge fan of Harker. In the first three issues, Roger Gibson and Vince Danks have provided a wonderfully clever and surprising series, and issue four takes those surprises to another level.
It’s not simply that Gibson and Danks have provided an interesting and complex murder case, which continues to unfold in a wonderfully interesting and thoughtful manner in this book. This book is also surprising in the way that it’s presented.
Gibson and Danks’s storytelling is quite straightforward and traditional. The team occasionally uses clever tricks like the wonderful revelation on the bottom of page 13, which is quietly and beautifully done. And the nearly silent scene on page 18 is also done in a wonderfully understated but interesting manner.
But what makes this story particularly wonderful is the passion that Danks and Gibson obviously have for their main characters. Detective Harker and his assistant Detective Critchley are very different people, and the creators present those differences in wonderfully clever and humorous ways. I love the contrasts that are presented between Harker and Critchley in the opening 6 pages. In that section of the comic, the story alternates between Harker’s crankiness and plain rudeness, and Critchley’s love for life. We see Harker complain incessantly about London’s traffic and birds on his commute in to work, while Critchley takes the time to enjoy the pretty women on the London streets.
When the two detectives meet up, the contrast between their personalities is clear in the way they’re shown to interact with each other. Harker is obviously a tortured and unhappy man, while Critchley obviously has a big spring in his step all the time. It’s a subtle difference between the two men, but it’s also a key demonstration of personality. And it’s that personality that helps this comic rise to being a series that shouldn’t be missed.
Once the men get to work, we see Harker and Critchley get closer to solving the mysterious death of a cult member on the steps of a Hawksmoor church. As they do that, we see the absolute competence of the members of the London Police Department as the team finds a mysterious secret that seems to be the linchpin of the murder mystery. But is that revelation a red herring or will it lead to more revelations?
I keep giving rave reviews to Harker because each issue surprises and delights me more than the previous issue. I predict this series will really break out once it starts being collected into TPB form.
For more on Harker, see ArielPress.com