“The Harvester” makes its debut with a half-origin story that is cleverly structured but a bit uneven overall. Brandon Seifert’s plot is good and the pacing has the trappings of a writer who is looking at the overall story rather than an issue-by-issue format. This isn’t a problem, though, as it lends itself to the idea that the title character is considered a myth or a miasma of folk lore cobbled together from centuries of oral tradition around the world. Seifert delivers a big action scene to display who this character is before dialing back and turning the rest of the comic book over to surrounding characters who debate the legitimacy of the man himself. It’s a classic horror story trope, a cross between “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” with a little bit of “Ghost Rider” sprinkled in as well.
The character work is a little less exciting than the plot itself. There is a lot of direct addressing of information rather than showing who a person is through their actions. Vicki is good at delivering academic facts but the reader is left with very little info about her other than the fact that she does research. Justin Luster, inexplicably dressed in a sweater vest and bow tie with a soul patch, tells us he is a private eye and we are supposed to believe that because he has a file and simply tells us this. Nothing here is terrible but it is a little flat. The reader is left with broad swaths of character that will need a little more rounding out as the series progresses before there can be any type of emotional resonance raised from their decisions.
Eric Battle’s art is also a double-edged sword. His page layouts during the action sequence are eye-popping and the angles are original. The characters are all very beefy with interestingly rendered proportions, but the action gets confusing due to a lack of depth in his pencil shadings. The art is not inked, going directly to color, and all of the characters in both the fore- and backgrounds have equal line weight, blending everything in the panel together and making it difficult for the eye to focus on the important information. The art shifts and becomes a bit more textured in the second half of the book as the action quiets down but the characters are a little looser than in the first half; it feels like the action sequence had the most attention given to it and the dialogue-heavy moments fell towards the end of the production cycle. Lee Loughridge also makes sure that many of the colors on the page are within the same family, further blurring together the happenings.
The pieces are in place for this to be a fun horror story; the Harvester himself and his Harbinger are both interesting bogeymen and the story instantly becomes more engaging any time they are on the page. The story structure follows the horror genre well and it will be interesting to see how this debut issue feeds into the ongoing narrative; as mentioned before, it’s clear that Seifert has a larger idea at play and is adept at doling out information as needed. With a few adjustments on the story and art, “The Harvester” could become a fun horror romp.