There's nothing to fear in the quaint town of Barlowe, New York-except, that is, for the Harrower.
The children wish this boogeyman was just an urban legend, but this purveyor of puritanical vengeance against the unrighteous is very real, and there's no escape, because the Harrower seems unkillable, and spans generations, always returning...
What secrets will Alice Young, a teenage girl obsessed with the Harrower, uncover, and will she be able to escape the pull of her morbid fixation?
- Author: Justin Jordan
- Artist: Brahm Revel
- Letterer: Pat Brosseau
- Publisher: Boom! Studios
- Genre: Horror, Mystery, Psychological
- Published Date: 02/08/2023
Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of horror. Although I’ve seen horror films, I’ve just never found the genre very appealing to me. The violence and intricate ways of killing someone were something that I never could get into, and still don’t know why it’s been a major hit for many people (and no offense if you love it!).
When I picked up Harrower #1 to review for Comic Watch, I had no idea it was a horror comic. Had I known that ahead of time, I probably wouldn’t have volunteered to review it since I knew that it wouldn’t resonate with me.
But I’m glad I did.
The story is essentially about the small town of Barlowe, New York, and the mythical figure, you guessed it, the Harrower. It is unknown by the end of the issue who or what it is precisely (can’t reveal everything at the beginning – that’s not how you tell a good horror story, after all). Still, it opens on Halloween, where we see the local sheriff getting killed by the Harrower, revealing to the reader that he somehow was responsible for bringing the murderous character into existence. The story continues when we learn more about the town, the central characters, and how Halloween and Harrower have become a synonymous, superstitious reality for the citizens.
Jordan does a beautiful job writing the mystery and suspense in the story. He gives us just enough to know that there’s a tragic history to the town and some of the characters while not revealing too much all too soon. This story reads like a cinematic movie, opening with an engaging hook and taking you to the next scene to set up the story (almost Scream-like). Honestly, this has been one of the more enticing stories I’ve read in quite some time, and to do that to someone who is not a horror fan is an impressive feat!
The artwork by Revel honestly elevates the story with its choice of colors and illustrations. The use of pastel colors gives it a perfect combination vibe of a small town in the fall season while also reminding you of the nostalgic 80s, a time when the horror genre rose to prominence. The illustration of the characters in the story gives it enough detail, so you know the differences between the characters, but lacks enough details so that you could essentially envision anyone you want in that scene with their matching, defining features.
Finally, the book was rounded out nicely with the lettering work of Brosseau. They had the opportunity to really lean into the use of sound effects with their lettering in the story which really made you appreciate having those visual cues there, as though it seems like it was a natural part of the story and not some font that was slapped in the background. Although the artwork probably did the job on some level, those text-based sound effects really drove home the impact of some of the scenes, from intense moments to the more gruesome ones.
Whether or not you're a fan of horror, there's no denying that you'll get hooked on the story and it won't let you go. This is a prime example of how the perfect mix of writing, art, and lettering can be done well to give you a fantastic story that is quite unmatched by anyone else. The artistic team has done a phenomenal job here, and Boom! Studios would be crazy not to continue this story.
- Writing - 9.5/10
- Storyline - 9.5/10
- Art - 9.5/10
- Color - 10/10
- Cover Art - 9/10
- Overall - 9.5/10
This review was originally written and published for Comic Watch on February 8th, 2023.