“Harvest” #1 was a promising if slightly uneven debut, but in “Harvest” #2 and #3, writer A.J. Lieberman and artist Colin Lorimer have sharpened and refined the pacing and art while leaving all the rough edges and hooks of the tone and plot. Following on the horrific, haunting cliffhanger at the end of “Harvest” #2, “Harvest” #3 begins with a point of no return for ex-surgeon Benjamin Dane. Whatever mutinous thoughts and preemptive actions he may have stored up against new boss Jason Craven, the first panel of “Harvest” #3 is the moment that alcoholic junkie and class-A screwup Dane shows his true (anti-)heroic colors. Dane’s second transformation is a foil to his first. Unlike how he sunk and slipped gradually from his first life as successful surgeon into an addict, being recruited into Craven’s service at his very lowest point, Dane’s break with Craven into a new life as a vigilante comes out of sudden, decisive risk and flashes of clarity.
If Dane is badly prepared for this new third life and makes sometimes-poor decisions on the fly, well, that just shows that despite all his lives, he’s not a cat or The Bat. Dane is a curiously compelling, complex protagonist. In the action of “Harvest” #3, his impulsiveness and amateur mistakes are mixed with forethought, compassion and intelligence. These paradoxes ring true in the context of his addictions. “Harvest #3” is where Lieberman’s efforts with characterization in earlier issues have their payoff. Because Lieberman has taken great pains to introduce Dane in the seamy, sordid squalor of his addictions, because Dane is someone who fell so low that he could be bought by Craven, his second transformation and the his now-unearthed passion for justice, bravery and capacity for action are all the more admirable and satisfying.
Colin Lorimer’s art for “Harvest” #3 is gorgeous. His line varies from wide brushstrokes to define creases in a character’s’ shirt to extremely clean, straight art-deco-like lines for a corporate office. Lorimer’s characters’ facial expressions are usually subtle but effective, letting the horror of events speak more loudly than character reactions. In contrast, Lorimer’s backgrounds and colors speak loudly, and his silhouettes and shadow create the moody atmosphere of “Harvest,” particularly his cityscapes and interiors, with their threadlike lamp halos and raindrops and the black lines of windowpanes and buildings rising into green or purplish sky. Lorimer draws some stunning page and panel compositions, like a three-way face-off at the top of a page that bleeds into full-page to surround five lower panels. The drawing in the panel is stunning in its minimalism, with its wintergreen background and black silhouettes, complementing Lieberman’s sparse, clever dialogue for the scene perfectly.
“Harvest” #3 is an unusual mix of horror, medical, crime and revenge, and it’s worth a look for the art and characterization alone. The end of this installment brings the action back to the opening sequence of the first issue, making for a softer cliffhanger than those previous, but the our good doctor has only begun his bloody mission, and I look forward to finding out how far he will go.