Writer/Artist/Creator: Josh Howard
Publisher: Devils Due
Time now for a brief glance into the mind of our intrepid reviewer, John Hays as he reads Black Harvest #1:
“Okay, they’re mentioning UFO’s….this is a sci-fi title. In fact, a funny sci-fi title set in Texas, that’s a plus. Wait, the town’s name is Jericho, and that’s biblical….eh, coincidence. Hold up, she’s got repent written on her. Now she’s talking about vengeance and judgement. Alright, it’s a religious title. No, wait. Those guys look to be in some sort of high tech bunker and are referring to power levels, and that’s more sci-fi. What kinda story IS this?”
In the Old Testament, Joshua fought the battle of Jericho just after the spring harvest, and the city was destroyed by fire, with the walls and floors turning black and red. This can’t bode well for the small town of Jericho, Texas, which, until now, has at least seemed to be mostly peaceful, with the yearly phenomenon known as the Jericho Lights serving as the main attraction. This year, however, things are going to change dramatically.
If you’re unfamiliar with Josh Howard’s work, as I am, then Black Harvest really comes out of left field. With its simplistic, cartoony art style, one would think that it is going to be, if not lighthearted, at least mostly harmless and all-ages friendly. This is not the case, and in this instance, that’s a good thing. Any comic that can start me off with laughs, keep me going with mystery, and finish me off with an out-loud “holy crap!” warrants a good rating from me.
I love that this takes place in Texas. Having moved back to my home state (the Dallas area in particular) about a year and a half ago, I can really appreciate some of the attention to detail Josh brings, such as Shiner beer, which I’ve never heard mentioned in a comic before.
“What’s a blog?”
“You know, a web log? Like on the internet.”
“Gross! You mean like porno?”
The art is really great, with a real animated look to it. It makes me want to see this picked up as an animated series. The pacing of the art is also excellent, using multiple panels to show time passing or the reader moving closer to a new scene. The ending…well let’s just say that the animated style lures you into an ease that is quickly erased by the final few pages.
I have very little idea of what is going on in this story, but in this case, that’s a plus and makes me want to definitely come back for the next issue. I think Josh has a real winner on his hands here. In his own words, it combines sci-fi, old religion, and horror in a unique and suprising way, and I can’t wait to read more.
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