Harker 5 – the murderer revealed!

Published On July 23, 2009 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

Harker issue 5

Roger Gibson & Vince Danks

Ariel Press

harker5

The latest issue of this top quality detective series, and the penultimate issue of the first storyline. I’ve looked at it twice already:

This is one of those books that I knew I was going to enjoy within the first ten pages. It had that feel of a great genre work, grabbing you and taking you exactly where you wanted it to go. Every page had something on it that pressed the right buttons for the bit of my brain that goes silly over great genre stuff. A little bit Sherlock Holmes, a little bit X-Files, CSI, it’s all these and so much more. But most importantly it gave me that immediacy that is incredibly rare, that feeling within the first few pages that this was going to be something special, and by the end of issue 2, it still felt like that – a hugely entertaining comic.Issue 1 & 2 review.

A great detective thriller with intriguing story, wonderful art, cracking dialogue and moments of laugh out loud comedy? Harker really does just get better and better. And I’ve barely even mentioned Vince Danks’ art. His figure work is spot on (and I finally figured out what I was seeing – amazingly there’s a touch of Kevin Maguire in his faces and some Nabiel Kanan in the linework) with a very minimal yet very expressive style that just captures every subtle nuance with very few lines. And if his figure work is strong then the settings and his backgrounds are just magnificent. The detailing is amazing. It’s as good as Gerhard’s work on Cerebus – amazing stuff. And the story really plays to Dank’s strengths. Brilliant stuff.Issue 3 & 4 review.

So I’ll keep this relatively brief:

Harker 5b

Beneath another stunning cover by Vincent Danks, we’re off following DCI Harker and DS Critchley just after the discovery of the latest victim (crucified in his own bookshop). The all important book; The Key of Solomon, is missing and Critchley and Griffin; Harker’s assistants / annoying voices in his head, convince him that he has to arrest Randolph; the antiques dealer and Satanic cult leader at the centre of all the goings on, only to have Harker proven right after all:

“I can confirm the time of … the bookseller’s death. He was murdered while you were questioning Randolph. Randolph isn’t your murderer. You’re his alibi.”
“Well there’s a turn up for the books. Seems I was right after all.”

Harker 5a

After the marvelous character driven dialogue in the first 4 issues, getting an issue that is, by necessity, more about driving the story to it’s conclusion next issue actually comes over as a slight disappointment – the page above is the only real out and out verbal gag in the comic. By the end of the issue you’re right there with Harker and Critchley and we all know who the murderer is. But saying it’s slightly less enjoyable still puts it head and shoulders above most of the other comics on the stands right now. Harker really is that good.

I’ve been saying it over and over but Harker is definitely one of the best comics you can buy right now. Roger Gibson and Vince Danks are really creating something marvelous here. And it’s certainly not too late to get on board. All of the previous issues are available from the creators and hopefully at many good comic shops across the country. There’s only one issue to go, the final showdown with the murderer and, hopefully, a chance for DCI Harker to let loose with that acid tongue of his once more.

The great news about Harker is that it doesn’t end with the conclusion of the Key Of Solomon storyline. All 6 issues are due to be collected into Volume 1 in September and there’s also a novel by Roger Gibson, illustrated by Vince Danks due in September. The Murder Club novel follows on directly from issue 6 and leads into the next storyline. An interesting way to do it perhaps, but it seems Gibson has more Harker tales than Danks has time to illustrate. And after that we’re straight into Volume 2, another 6 issues that I really hope prove to be as brilliant as what’s gone on so far.

Harker has proven to be the comic I most look forward to reading each month – an absolute triumph of a comic.

Richard Bruton.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

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