Having already enjoyed the Time Bomb Comics titles that I’ve picked up, getting an early look at their new, complete two part story Harker was a welcome return to them for me.
It’s the tale of a fairly gruesome murder happening on the steps of the British Museum and we learn quickly that this is the second such discovery in London so the authorities need as much help as possible. Cue the arrival of DCI Harker and his assistant DS Critchley and their soon embroiled in a world of satanic cults, book deals gone wrong and finding enough breaktime to enjoy that cheese & pickle. The quirky duo bounce off each other in much the same way the likes of Morse & Lewis would but there’s a rich feeling of originality mixed with homage going on that gets you hooked from the beginning.
The beginning itself is fairly gruesome but then murder tends to be and it makes the contrast of the pair hunting for clues & a solid lead all the more engaging as things progress. They both have very different ideas of which direction to go in but just as they think they’re on the right track, a sit down in the nearest pub has the debate rolling on and the head scratching continuing. That second issue then draws us in further with extra revelations about the actual goings-on of that satanic cult as sex & jealousy bring divisions in the group but still more questions about who is to blame.
Roger Gibson’s two issues here are a perfect example of how a British indie detective release can get into your head and keep you entertained. The brutality of the murders and the vein of humour feel like they’re so well placed and they play a key part in keeping the pacing and mystery fully fuelled for the two bumper issues. The main characters are a slick combo but rather than have the success rest on their shoulders alone the broader supporting members make the impact they need to as well.
The detail in the art from Vincent Danks in both those characters and the intricate look of the surroundings make this feel like London to the extent that you can almost hear the traffic and smell the world that’s there. The panel layouts also help capture the scale of the city and the finer details of the investigation with ease. Colouring from Ben Lopez in Part One & Andrew Richmond in Part Two make sure that every detail in that art packs the punch that’s needed for the intimate death/investigation elements as well as the grandeur of the City itself making the world glow. Kudos to Roger on lettering too as he manages a hefty script of dialogue exceptionally well and where other issues would have struggled under it’s weight, the mix of panel layouts and well controlled & placed speech bubbles makes this an effortless book to read & connect with.
All in all, this is a detective release from Time Bomb Comics that deserve all the praise and then some as the light & dark side to those characters are brought to life in a city that’s familiar enough to have you engaged from the off. There’s no punches pulled in the glimpses of death that we see but with the ebb & flow of those two main characters keeping things buoyant the combination of Inspector Morse via Hot Fuzz feels like it plugs a gap in my indie comic reading. While Harker may have appeared on comic pages in the more recent past this feels like the perfect jumping on point for your new favourite detective and as it’s a new title on me, I can’t wait to see more from this creative team and Time Bomb Comics soon.
You can also pick up both issues of Harker at the campaign link below: