Grizzled, hard-boiled, set in their ways. These words could easily describe certain parts of my anatomy, but they apply more aptly to the main character in Harker: The Book of Solomon. Set in his ways of more precise, old school police work, DCI Harker leaves the more extravagant and out-of-the-box thinking to his partner against crime, DS Critchley.
Set in cheery, old, present-day London Town (Is that an oxymoron?), the two are going about their normal routine: sipping tea, checking in on each other’s personal lives, investigating hardcore mutilation and murder . . . the usual. Darn it, I should have posted a *spoiler alert*; you probably didn’t guess from the fact that they are police that this is a crime novel. Well, since you already know now, I may as well get a bit more specific. Investigating a murder more horrific than the life of a “Toddler in a Tiara,” they are set on the heels of a vicious murder with possible links to the occult, debauchery, jealousy, and greed. There’s nothing more British than warm beer, bad teeth, and eel pie. Set on their merry way, the details of this six-issue collection compiled into one hardcover trade unfold.
The way that author Roger Gibson captured the subtleness and dry wit of British humour astounded me. I was very impressed with how he caught the essence of the humour that we Yanks have come to know, mostly through PBS or BBC America. I was less impressed once I discovered how he came upon such insight. He’s actually British. I call shenanigans; he has the deck stacked in his favour that way! No fair! He didn’t reinvent the wheel or the Harry Potter franchise, but Gibson did do a fine job creating a series that would fit right in with Sherlock and Doctor Who. The tete-a-tete, back and forth between Critchley and Harker is fondly reminiscent of those between Sherlock and Watson or The Doctor and his Companion.
On the other hand, the artwork in this book is quite different. You see, when it came to the writing in this book, it was mostly certainly done with a computer. Oddly, you can tell the artwork by Vince Danks was done with some sort of rudimentary utensil which I’ve heard called a “pencil.” Crude as it is, Danks seems to be rather proficient with the graphite-based instrument and does some very well composed work. All jacka–ery aside, Danks does have some impressive drawing chops, and it is demonstrated in abundance in the book. Wonderfully meticulous, I can imagine some of the panels taking hours to complete. Then again, it takes me half an hour to get a circle just right, so who’s to say. Time management aside, his black and white work would be something I wouldn’t be afraid of telling someone that I drew.
Together, Gibson and Danks collaborated in making a fine piece of work. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next, as this was rather a page turner. The pacing was done almost to a metronome, the art and writing were well thought out, and, most importantly, I read it. Those lucky blokes. Cheers.