Hard Time #2 Review

Reviewer by: Mathan “Beecher” Erhardt
Story Title: The Big House

Written by: Steve Gerber
Penciled and Inked by: Brian Hurtt
Lettered by: Jared K Fletcher
Colored by: Brian Haberlin
Editor: Joan Hilty
Publisher: DC Comics

All right all you need to know is that Ethan Harrow and a friend, who were severely picked on in school, held their own version of Columbine. Ethan thought it was a prank, but Brandon Snodd, his coconspirator took things too far. And that was when something inside of Ethan killed Brandon. After being sentenced to 50 to Life, that same thing caused some havoc in the courtroom.

We find Ethan on the bus to the State Pen. Also on the bus are fellow inmates George W. Cole a guy who offers Ethan a helping hand, Lewis Gatherwood a timid chap who doesn’t seem to be cut out for prison life, Arturo Lopez a gang member who talks a lot. After getting checked in, they find that they reside on B Block.

Ethan meets his cellmate, a kind old man, at least by prison standards. Ethan is also intrigued by a sexually ambiguous character on his row. Later in the lunch chow line Ethan gets into a situation and his smart mouth causes the situation to become dire to the point that he makes his first enemy, Swift.

A naïve Ethan gets lured into a room for a private beating by a few Aryans. He takes a couple lumps but is saved by the intervention of Gantry, the preacher. And when Ethan falls asleep after his first day in prison the entity from within Ethan goes and seeks vengeance on Swift.

Gerber has a great book on his hands. I’ll admit to being a sucker for prison drama. He manages to remain true to form without being too graphic. All of the characters that we are introduced to this issue are very intriguing. I really like the way that Ethan masks his fear with wise cracks. I am hooked. I can’t wait to see Ethan’s evolution, just like the one I witnessed with Tobias Beecher.

The art is perfect. The coloring is very stark, which perfectly captures the bland prison look. All of the characters look distinct. The art is hard to describe, it’s not cartoony nor is it ultra realistic. It just perfectly matches the vibe of the book.