Review: Touching Evil #1

Stop reading this and go buy it right now. Seriously, stop.

Alright fine I’ll tell you why you should buy one of the single greatest issues in comics that I have ever read. I’m mean that should be enough, but I’m guessing you want to hear about how the concept for this book is one of those that as a creator you wish you had thought up. That the writing makes you believe that this world is actually a part of our own and that the art is… stunning.

Touching Evil begins with an introduction to our main character Ada a trial lawyer that has just gotten her client off on murder charges… legitimate murder charges. Her private eye that delivered the winning evidence that cast doubt on the security guard that witnessed the murder, is surprised to see her so down after winning the case. She’s bothered by the fact that her client’s son put on a huge spectacle in court.

After that we head over to Briarcliff Correctional Center where new prisoners or “fresh meat” are being orientated by the Warden. He walks them through his history with the prison and addresses the rumor of “the ghost block.” He addresses it by telling them it’s real. He informs them that the prison operates on a three strike system, after your third you’re delivered to the ghost block. He also tells them that to hammer home how real the ghost block is, that whoever earns their first strike will be given to the ghost block. He warns them that other inmates will try to make them strike out and we see that the biggest guy in the group is spotted by two other inmates looking down at the courtyard.

Touching Evil #1 CoverThe story heads back to Ada from there as she heads back to her office and is summoned by her boss. He’s hooked up to an air canister cutting cigars for the fun of it. He asks her to head out to Briarcliff to inform a former client that his sister has passed away. She’s a bit confused by why the trip is necessary so her boss dangles the carrot of “partner” in front of her face for motivation.

We head back to the prison and follow the inmate that’s been chosen by the other prisoners to be the example sent to ghost block. His cellmate is an old man and he spouts off some great advice to him. He also tells him that there is no ghost, instead it’s a man kept all alone in the cell block; a man who Ada is on her way to visit.

I really don’t want to spoil the issue for you. I know I’ve told you a lot, but trust me if this sounds even remotely interesting it’s actually ten times better when you read it. The concept is basically in the title so that should at least give you a clue as to what to expect.

The writing is superb. The characters are very believable and what’s even better is that the world they live in is believable. Ada is a great character and the perfect fit for the story. Her supporting characters at first seem like stereotypes, but when the major element of the plot hits you can see why they’re like that. It’s going to play a huge role in the coming issues. The concept blew my mind. Not because it was the most original thing I have ever heard, but in its execution. The way Dan Dougherty uses his concept is very cool and again something that you can’t help but kick yourself for nothing thinking of.

Dougherty also delivers on the art. He’s as strong of a visual storyteller as he is as writer. He frames a shot to give the panel the most impact. The opening splash page is ripe with foreshadowing that I couldn’t even begin to spoil for you. Hell I could just be wrong, but after staring at for a while I’m pretty sure I’m not. Dougherty doesn’t make it easy on himself that’s for sure. The prison is very detailed and there are a ton of different characters each with their own unique design. All in all it’s like watching a movie it’s that damn good.

I can’t even tell you how impressed I am with this comic. I actually have the second issue and usually I would just blow through it and review them together, but I didn’t this time. I wanted to talk about this issue on its own and though I know the second issue will be good, this issue deserved its own spotlight. I wouldn’t allow myself to read the second issue until I had written the review for this one, that’s how serious I am about its quality. For five bucks you’re getting thirty-two pages of something very special. It’s worth every penny so pick it up.

Score: 5/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Dan Dougherty Inker/Colorist: Wesley Wong Publisher: Beardo Comics Price: $5.00 Website