Hard Time #8 Review

Reviewer: Mathan “Adebisi” Erhardt
Story Title: Presence

Written by: Steve Gerber
Penciled and Inked by: Brian Hurtt
Lettered by: Pat Brosseau
Colored by: Wildstorm FX
Editor: Joan Hilty
Published by: DC Focus/DC Comics

So Ethan, who has the power to escape his body, has been in solitary for awhile. Swift, who tired to kill Ethan is out of the infirmary and back with Cindy, a s/him. Turo’s girlfriend is pregnant, and has made a deal with a gang to make sure that she’s taken care of. Oh yeah, this all takes place in prison.

Ethan escapes his body and cell and visits his house. There he witnesses his lawyer and his mother becoming very friendly. Suddenly he’s pulled back to his body. He wakes up to find a guard trying to resuscitate him, because he though Ethan was dead.

Ethan then resolves to kill his lawyer, but no matter how hard he tries he can’t escape his body. Meanwhile back in the general population in the prison Turo finds out that he can get in good with the gang, and thus make sure his girl and child are taken care of, if he kills Swift. Swift used to be tight with the Aryans, but ever since he was beaten to a pulp (by Ethan’s other self) he’s lost a bit of cred. And the fact that Swift’s “girlfriend” Cindy tries to defend him, only make people question his manhood even more.

Turo decides to manipulate a situation where Cindy would lead Swift to the basement. With Swift down there then Turo would take his chance to kill him. Ethan finally figures out how to escape his body and begins to explore the prison. Cindy and Swift go down to the basement, but Swift has bad memories of the place and tries to take his anger out on Cindy. Turo arrives in time to save Cindy, but Swift is out of control, and begins to beat Turo as well. Ethan’s other self intervenes and Swift ends up impaled on one of his own crutches. His death helps Turo with the gang, but dooms Cindy in the prison.

Gerber has made this book a “first read” every month when it comes out. This is one of the most realistically written books out. I love how Ethan is just one member of the ensemble cast of this title. Every character is interesting and captivating. And every issue can’t come quickly enough.

Hurtt is another piece of the puzzle. His are captures the nuance of prison life. It can also be terrible realistic. The violent scenes can be brutally violent, which adds to the credibility of the title. And the subtlety of people actually recovering from their wounds over issue is a nice one. The colors perfectly capture the drab look of prison. The look of the book is perhaps the best on the market.

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