Hard Time #2
Ethan Harrow begins his 50-to-life sentence… and prison life will live up to the name of this series.
Writer: Steve Gerber
Art: Brian Hurtt
Colors: Brian Haberlin
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Joan Hilty
Cover Art: Tomer Hanuka
Publisher: DC Focus
In our first issue Ethan Harrow was given 50 to life in the state pen for a murder he didn’t, technically, commit. Twice, however, a strange power erupted from his body with deadly results. Without knowing what this power is or, perhaps, without even knowing it exists, Ethan prepares to spend the rest of his life in prison.
The superpowered aspect of this title does come into play in this issue, but not until late. Most of the book is about Ethan’s life in prison, and that much is fairly standard stuff for a prison drama. We get the grizzled old con, the inmate who tries to give him advice, the whimpering newcomer and the nasty thugs who make rape a recreational activity when behind bars. It’s all done okay, but it’s all stuff we’ve seen before.
The artwork by Brian Hurtt is pretty good – each con has a distinctive look and each character can be told from all the others pretty easily. Artwise, though, the star of this issue has to be Brian Haberlin with the colors – he uses very few colors but he uses all of them to their best effect. Outside scenes are orange, prison scenes are blue, and scenes of anger, violence and power are all in shades of red. The art team on this book makes a rather run-of-the-mill script a lot better.
Steve Gerber has an interesting idea – the superpowered teenager in prison for the rest of his life – but I have serious doubts as to whether there is enough in this idea to sustain an ongoing series. Fans of the book, or of Gerber himself, will most certainly hope there is. For their sake, I hope he fills those promises.