Wednesday, August 28, 2013
"I don't know. He just reached out his hand and-"
There are a lot of evil people in the world and not really enough justice to handle them all. That's what makes someone like Judge Dredd so efficient: he judges, sentences AND executes, leaving little wiggle room for all that appeals business. We're not quite to the point where Mega-City One is offering the law of the land, but there are some in different worlds who have a similar power, as in Touching Evil #1 from Beardo Comics.
The first issue is written, illustrated and lettered by Dan Dougherty, inked by Wesley Wong and Dougherty, colored by Wong (color assists by Sheila Johnson).
Ada Mansfield is an attorney with a penchant for getting bad guys off the hook for their crimes; she would make Saul Goodman and Maurice Levy proud. Her latest case set George Lykos free, a man whom everyone knew did it, but the case just fell apart. Her sterling track record endears her to her boss, who subsequently sends her to Barcliff, where Warden Donald Nidmore warns of a ghost in the facility who acts as the ultimate punishment. After a meeting with inmate Martin Penn, Ada learns exactly what it is the "ghost" is capable of.
Dougherty writes a somewhat predictable storyline, but it does have some originality to it. There's a supernatural aspect to the "gift" of killing those filled with evil and it's yet to be explained, but there are more issues where Dougherty can delve into that. The dialogue is pretty good for the most part, with a few lines coming across as if they're trying too hard. The story flows very well though and comes full-circle in a way, offering readers a very coherent tale that they can definitely get into. Players are slowly introduced and the pacing offers a slow drip of story (in a very good way), giving the reader the chance to fully ingest what they're reading and not get overwhelmed by a ton of new characters.
Dougherty also handles the art duties and they're really crisp in the issue. Characters are easily distinguished and thrive amidst detailed backgrounds, giving the story a body of its own. He deftly moves from setting to setting, bringing the reader along for the sometimes chilling ride. A lot is made of the "ghost's" eyes and Dougherty makes them the focal point of quite a few pages. The emphasis on one such characteristic really hammers home the eerieness of the both the character and the power he's imbued with.
Touching Evil #1 is an interesting book that blends mysticism with reality. It's subtly done though in a way that isn't overbearing and is reminiscent of something like Drag Me to Hell. In that film, Sam Raimi relied on the mythos of gypsy curses in a modern day setting, presenting something that couldn't quite be explained but was prevalent anyway. It's a similar concept in Touching Evil #1, in that the ability is really unique and unexplained, but is somewhat accepted by the characters. Where the story goes from here is anyone's guess, but there's definitely a lot of evil in the world that needs touching and Touching Evil #1 is worth reading to find out who gets the handshake with death.
Touching Evil #1 should be available now.