Sunday, November 15, 2009

Feet, stones stained with blood; men drinking tea between a skull and a bookcase

Harker #1, by Roger Gibson & Vince Danks
Harker #2, by Roger Gibson & Vince Danks

OK, so what is this? I noticed that Forbidden Planet has a load of issues of this, and skimming one of them revealed that it has some nicely drawn pictures of London locations, including the super soaraway St. George Bloomsbury church. So I decided to take a punt on the first issue. It begins with some guy being gutted on the steps of said Hawksmoor designed church, then cuts to two cops (one of whom is the eponymous Harker) arriving to investigate the case. The initially unidentified victim is found to have a fibre from an equally unidentified very old book under a fingernail – coupled with the location of the murder this leads one of the cops to think that they might be faced with some kind of ritual black magic murder. OMG etc.

To be honest, I was only so gone on the first issue of this. The two cops seemed to be a bit too much like ker-aaaazy wacky guys from the eccentric-individual school of policing. I somehow suspect that they will be shown to play by their own rules even if ultimately they get results. There were also a couple of odd bits of the story that I found myself questioning. Like, why did they go to the British Museum to look up olds books? I thought the British Library moved to St. Pancras ages ago (must do actual research to see if it still has a reading room at the British Museum). Also, would a library really keep records of every search done on its online catalogue? I think not, but maybe in police state Britain they keep any information they can.

Still, the pictures are nice, and I never know when to stop, so I picked up the second issue today. This seemed a bit more entertaining. The two cops rock along on their black magic line of investigation, one of them thinking this is the way to crack the case, the other thinking its all a load of bollocks. The victim is now identified, turning out to be some porky doctor who's been jazzing half of London. Police procedural stuff reveals an amount of information, and then OMG an astonishing reveal on the last page.

One really good thing about the second issue is the lack of things that annoyed me – the cops seem less annoyingly quirky and it lacked the O RLY moments that irritated me with issue one. And it kept the good things – the nice London art and the ambiguous occult stuff. And the story continues to crack along.

So all told, after reading the second issue I find myself liking this so much that I will probably buy up all the later issues some time over the next week.

Detective Panda

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