Review - Harvestin' Howard #3

The third issue of Harvestin' Howard continues the saga of Don Hunter, a man marked for death as a whistleblower and granted a great power rooted in sinister evil. Don is continuing to make his case to a police officer as to why he's not fully responsible for the death of a homeless man, so the majority of this issue is told as a flashback to one year earlier.

We get more backstory regarding the company Hunter used to work for, International Big Meat. The CEO of the company -the Colonel- is imbued with the disdain for lesser workers that has come to epitomize big business in the past few years. It's a little disappointing that the character is so predictable, spewing southern sounding phrases and a generally thorny demeanor. His secretary is worried about her brother, the OSHA inspector sent to shut down the meatpacking plant but who meets a different fate. There's a setup as to this storyline being resolved down the line, but I have a feeling I know what will happen with it.

Meanwhile, Don still oscillates between being the angry werewolf and the mild-mannered unemployee. He's being tracked bu the Colonel as the final loose end to the incident regarding the OSHA inspector. The problem with a murder is that if there's one loose end there's going to be more loose ends, as the threads continue to unravel. Eventually you've got to wonder if the murder will snowball into something bigger where more and more people find out, such as the secretary. You also have the cops, one of which was bad and we see that some in this issue. There are core of characters that the work is quickly revolving around.

Writers Manning, Niesen and Ogawa have settled into the story a bit with the third issue, but there are still some problems. There are points in the comic where a text box is used to denote an action, which is confusing because the purpose of comics is to use illustrated panels to show actions. Having the text box say "object Y did X" while you see the panel illustrating object Y doing X is a little redundant. There are also still instances of canned dialogue, but it looks like some of that has been alleviated since the first two issues. Ogawa's illustrations show hints of flair here and there, but for the most part look a little glossy. There's a sheen or something in the art that's a little strange in a comic, but I guess it works for this one.

I think the biggest complaint I have about Harvestin' Howard is that the story doesn't feel natural. Sure, we're talking about a man that transforms into a werewolf, but the flow and interactions between characters just doesn't seem natural. Too much of the text explains stuff that is happening to the reader. The characters all tend to announce things as they're doing them which is what makes the read seem unnatural at times. The story is taking shape though and I know the creators have a set path in mind, so it'll be interesting to see how it all shapes out.