"Rise of the Harvester: Book One" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by SST Publications
Written and illustrated by Steve McGinnis
2016, 44 Pages
Graphic noel released on June 28th, 2016
After murdering dozens of people, the serial killer known as the Harvester is being transported under lock and key. He's strapped down tight, in a straitjacket, and he's been knocked out, but the driver is still wary. He explains to his co-worker why this man is so dangerous, delving into the origin of this monster. Get ready for the flashback, kids.
Rise of the Harvester has some troubling beginnings for its main characters. He was born big but dumb and with a dark streak to boot. Animals would end up dead after he played with them and the same would happen to small children his father would bring by in the hopes of entertaining the boy. This culminated in the townspeople lynching the family, but the son escaped to wreak havoc another day. It seems Hell didn't want him.
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Writer / artist Steve McGinnis presents a harrowing origin story for the Harvester, but it starts out a little slow. If this was a movie, this would have been told in about five minutes in a quick flashback over a campfire by some rebellious co-eds. We learn about how deadly this killer is, but we don't get to see him in action all that much. The draw of a slasher story is the slasher, and instead we get more of a history lesson.
That's not to say that the story isn't compelling. It's definitely interesting and works as a great origin along the lines of classics like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. He's a force of evil that is so dark, death itself stays away from him.
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McGinnis' design for the character is terrifying, especially when it comes to the mask. The Harvester took it from a scarecrow. It's an old, stitched up burlap sack with rough eyes cut out. If this is the last thing you see before you die, you'll shuffle off this mortal coil screaming.
Some of the artwork appears stiff or awkward, as if the characters don't know how to stand or what to do with their arms. Perspective is off at times, like the images were once three dimensional and then squished flat. Where McGinnis excels is the gore. There are some insane kills in this book showing some very creative uses for a sickle. It appears to be a very efficient cutting device, capable of slicing right through bone, muscle, and even brains. The look of terror on the victims' faces is perfect.
Rise of the Harvester introduces a terrifying addition to the slasher genre. This first volume serves as the introduction. It's like the prologue of what looks to be an epic series of bloodshed and mayhem. Although it’s a bit of a slow start, I'm definitely interested to see where Steve McGinnis takes it next.