09th Apr2014

Graphic Novel Review: Doing Time

by Richard Axtell

Written by Brady Sullivan | Art by Amilton Santos | Published by Back Row Comics | Format: Paperback/Digital comic, 78pp


Jeffery Tiller is in jail. But he isn’t in any old jail. This jail has a top of the line security system in the form of a bracelet placed on every inmates arm. You want to escape? You won’t get far. Before you know it, you will be teleported right back into your cell. But Jeffery Tiller is smart and he wants out. Using his ‘egghead’ skills, he manages to form an escape plan, unfortunately he needs to take 5 other inmates with him for his plan to work. So with his rag tag team of murderers, arsonists and psychopaths, what follows is a science fiction adventure of epic proportions including time travel, action, dinosaurs, Romans, racism and romance.

Doing Time is a science-fiction-prison-break-adventure following a number of inmates as they are chased across time and space. Think The Defiant Ones but the chains holding them together are their teleportation bracelets. Written by Bradly Sullivan, I found it hard to put this story down. The characters are very well written, each their own unique person and you’ll find yourself liking them, despite their murderous and racist tendencies. Some of their exchanges are golden as they hurl insults at each other, which isn’t surprising when the group consists of a white supremacist, an African-American murderer, a Jewish husband killer and a serial killer. Tiller is the only ‘good’ character out of all of them, seemingly imprisoned for just trying to save the world.

Amilton Santos has brought the story to life very well with his art. Whether it is giant dinosaurs in the jungle, a futuristic sci-fi prison or a gladiator fight in Roman times, the action is clear, crisp and well balanced across the page. One particular highlight for me was seeing a Tyrannosaurus Rex being shot through the head with a cannon ball. Not something I ever thought I would see, but they went there in Doing Time and it worked.

If I have one niggle with this comic, it is that all of the characters are wielding six packs and rock hard abs. Now, this may just be jealousy on my part, but I do feel it takes away from a realism slightly if every character in a story is perfectly chiselled and sporting the body of an Olympic athlete. Sure they have been in prison where it is suggested that ‘working out’ is the best form of entertainment, but I can’t help but feel that the diversity of the characters in the story could have been further built upon by a diversity of body shapes and sizes.

Apart from that, I really liked Doing Time and if you are a mature reader with a penchant for science-fiction and prison break adventures, this is definitely a book for you. Doing Time is currently available for purchase on Comixology.


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