Harvest graphic novel review

Medical thriller Harvest, by AJ Lieberman and Colin Lorimer, is out now in hardcover

A work of macabre beauty, AJ Lieberman and Colin Lorimer’s Harvest is a mixture of viscerally real and timelessly creepy – its dark and uncaring world more akin to the diseased post-modern noir of Se7en than anything else in comics.

Flitting from a 100 Bullets-style thriller to moments of Saw-style jaw-agape horror with pilot episode pacing, Harvest follows a disgraced former surgeon who finds himself dragged into a world of illicit organ-jacking for the benefit of rich and powerful scumbags.

Down-on-his luck douchebag Benjamin Dane has that perfect, brow-beaten everyman quality shared by Incognito‘s Zack Overkill, Incorruptible‘s Max Damage and Wanted‘s Wesley Gibson – the last sons of Generation X, after the music stopped and the lights came up, and all that was left was student debt and parental disappointment.

He’s the guy we don’t have to look too hard to see ourselves becoming, and his arc, from reluctant backstreet medic for a Yakuza boss to accidental accomplice to a flinty organlegger, is all the more satisfying when he steps up, says no and tries to put things right. He doesn’t exactly play fair, but with the FBI and his shadowy, not-to-be-fucked-with enemies trying to put him down, fair would get him jack.

Lieberman may be miles away from his most recent Image book, the critically acclaimed and tonally opposite Cowboy Ninja Viking, but in Harvest, the rotten seeds he planted over his long-run at the helm of DC’s Batman: Gotham Knights have finally flowered – the tense, multi-layered web of mysteries reaching a new apex.

The art is as much cinematography as it is illustration, with Lorimer bathing the world of Harvest in claustrophobic angles and uneasy close-ups, deep shadows and pools of light, and spectacularly ghoulish, blood-splattered spreads of pure suture-porn.

Complex, fast-moving, casually chocking, razor-sharp and wickedly smart, Harvest is a perfectly pitched medical thriller hosting a black heart of body horror and whiskey-sozzled guts of film noir from its own creative organ transplant. As a bonus, the hardcover comes with Lorimer’s early concept art and behind-the-scenes processes, as well as a lovely pull-out of the series’ original, interlocking covers.