Hard Time #3
Quick Rating: Good
Title: Hard Ways
Ethan Harrow is picking up enemies in prison, not even realizing the power that lies within him.
Writer: Steve Gerber
Art: Brian Hurtt
Colors: Brian Haberlin
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Joan Hilty
Cover Art: Tomer Hanuka
Publisher: DC Focus
It’s taken three issues, but I’m starting to get into Hard Time. Last issue, Ethan’s power erupted again, delivering a savage beating to an Aryan inmate that harassed him, but again doing so without him being aware of his power. The guards in prison are equally stumped, with Ethan having the logical motive, but the only person who had access to the victim being his cellmate, the ineffectual and effeminate man named Cindy. Cindy saw the waves of power batter his cellmate and is convinced Ethan is responsible, but Ethan still doesn’t know what’s going on.
The dramatic aspects of this series are starting to take off – we’re getting a good solid prison drama with aspects of mystery and science fiction to touch it up. The only problem is the question of how long Steve Gerber can maintain Ethan’s ignorance of his own power without stretching all credulity. It’s already beginning to wear a little thin, and even if Ethan doesn’t know what’s happening to him when his power manifests, sooner or later he’s got to figure out that he’s blacking out each time one of these odd events happens.
Brian Hurtt and Brian Haberlin continue to do a good job with the artwork, although again, I have to bemoan the apparent “house style” that is being used in the DC Focus books. I can understand the desire to make the line stand out, make it distinct from the DC Universe, but I can’t help feeling that making all of the titles look more or less the same is the way to do it. That set, the Brians make very good use of the tools they are given, making Ethan look small and unassuming in the midst of a comic book otherwise populated by brutal rapists, thieves and murderers.
This is a good title, but it still needs a little more of a push to make it a great one. Fortunately, the book has gotten better with each issue, so hopefully the creative team will soon crest that hump and make the flagship of the DC Focus line the solid title the imprint needs it to be.