By: A.J. Lieberman (writer), Colin Lorimer (artist) and Brandon DeStefano (letters)

The Story: An organ-stealing ring seen from the eyes of a fallen surgeon.

Quick review: This was a very promising first issue.  It’s not something you’ll want to be buried with, but it is well worth checking out if you’re looking for something gritty and grimy.

In case you didn’t know…..organ harvesting is a serious, real-world problem than has its roots in an understandable problem: If your loved one or child needed an organ transplant to live, but was put on a 4 year wait-list, would you pay ~$50,000 to get a “no questions asked” organ in a third-world country???  It’s easy to get on your ethical high-horse and say you would never do such a thing…..until it’s your child who needs a kidney.  Many people do this every year and try to convince themselves that the kidney their child received came from a kid who died in a car accident and not a kid who was kidnapped and chopped up like a stolen car or who was sold by her own parents so that the rest of the family could eat.

Obviously, the people running these organ rings are what you’d expect.  They’re probably not much different than people who run illegal guns, drugs and prostitutes……organized crime is pretty much the same everywhere.  But…if you’re going to harvest organs, you do need some skilled labor in the form of surgeons who know how to remove the organs such that they’ll be useful later.  Where do you get the surgeon to actually cut the organs out of a kidnapped little child for resale to a bunch of wealthy Americans/Europeans?  Despite the fact that most surgeons do like money, they also tend to have a very strong moral sense for saving lives….so how do you get one to do these procedures for you?

The story in Harvest #1 deals with this exact question as it shows a surgeon who falls in with a really crappy group of people who want him to chop up innocent people for organs.  It’s just a very straightforward story that is pretty unflinching and unafraid to show gross stuff.  What was also notable is that the story lacked any waft of supernatural.  There are no ghosts lurking and no voices in the doctor’s head.  Sometimes (usually) a crime story should just be a crime story.

Another big selling point on this issue is the art.  You can see a lot of brushwork and there is very good use of shadow.  The colors are mostly flat-ish.  No silly highlights.   The people look like normal people….with normal clothing….and that’s important because this is a grounded story.  The surgery scenes also look sufficiently bloody and gross.  To sum it up….the art gets the job done.

Conclusion: Gosh…a crime story that isn’t trying to mix in any cults or demons or ghosts!  Mix that with good art and you have a winner.

Grade: B+

– Dean Stell