“In my line of work you see a lot of death” – irritable, grumpy and wonderful; Harker’s back

Published On February 2, 2010 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

Harker issue 10

by Roger Gibson and Vince Danks

Ariel Press


Here we go again….. by now you know how much I enjoy Harker (see the review of Volume 1: The Book Of Solomon for a reminder), so when I got the latest issue I was almost tempted just to write a quick piece announcing it’s release and linking to past reviews.

But….. the problem is that Harker’s struggling along, with no US distributor and is relying on UK sales to keep it going. And I for one, definitely want it to keep going and going and going. It’s the monthly (near enough) comic that I really look forward to getting, a guaranteed slice of regular enjoyment. So to quickly recap, my reviews of the previous three issues in this story are here; issue 7, issue 8, issue 9 and here’s the blurb from the inside cover:

Detective Chief Inspector Harker and his assistant, Detective Sergeant Critchley, specialise in cases of multiple homicide. Harker’s seaside holiday in Whitby is ruined by the brutal stabbing of mystery author Agatha Fletcher, who was at the hotel with her assistant Jasmine Burns to host a Murder Mystery evening. Although initially reluctant to investigate, when a second corpse is washed up on the morning tide, identified as the hotel chef, Harker gets on the case…….

And now you’re right up to speed. Issue 10 starts with a mysterious memory and then barrels straight into Harker and Critchley getting on with the job of finding the killer. As usual, we have two coppers with vastly diverging ideas on how best to approach the case and a fine line in verbal sparring as they try their best to bludgeon the other into taking their viewpoint.

The story moves along with pace and gusto, packed with the beautiful visuals that I’ve come to expect from Vince Danks by now. But to stop myself taking his art for granted, it’s always nice to reread the issue a couple of times and at least once let the words fall away and just luxuriate in a bloody brilliant artist doing some fine, fine work.

One of the key attractions of Harker is the interplay between the main characters and the comedy that results, cutting, sarcastic stuff. And, seeing as we’re in Whitby with one of the grumpiest coppers in the world, how better to milk a moment for a few great gags than to bring out the Goths? (Whitby, if you didn’t know, is famous for it’s bi-annual Goth weekends, where the town is inundated with revellers revisiting the sites made famous in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.) You can just hear the exasperation in Harker’s voice as he heads to the bar for a quiet pint and walks into this…..

harker 10 3

But Harker has a cunning plan…….to get to the bar…

harker 10 2

Great, great scenes and more evidence, as if you needed it, that Harker is still going strong, mixing the humour with the criminal investigation and making this a very, very enjoyable crime thriller with a wickedly funny streak. It’s still the best British monthly comic out there right now.

All of the Harker issues are available from the Ariel Press website and there’s a list of the comic shops stocking it here. If your comic shop doesn’t have it on it’s shelves – ask them why not.

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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