Shiny Shelf

Human Target #1

By Eddie Robson on 11 November 2003

I didn’t read Peter Milligan’s ‘Human Target’ mini-series, nor did I read the follow-up graphic novel. They appear to have passed me by at some point. But I love Milligan’s writing on ‘X-Statix’ and artist Javier Pulido did excellent work on his recent ‘Catwoman’ issues, so I decided to just throw myself in at the deep end with this new ‘Human Target’ ongoing series.

I didn’t actually have much trouble getting into this at all. The plot is convoluted but that’s true whether you’ve read the previous issues or not. The book revolves around Christopher Chase, master of disguise – a character created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino back in the 1970s. The backbone of Milligan’s revival of the character is an exploration of what it does to a person psychologically when they spend so much time trying to be somebody else…

And there isn’t a great deal more that I can say about this plot-wise because it twists and turns right from page one. What I will say, however, is that Milligan’s writing here is, if anything, sharper than his ‘X-Statix’ work – I find his dialogue on the Marvel title occasionally awkward, but no such problems here. With its air of uncertainty and fractured narrative it’s a proper noir comic book. Pulido’s simple lines benefit the title hugely: faces are only vaguely, broadly defined, aiding the impression that Chase could become any one of these people.

Regular ‘X-Statix’ readers will be aware of Milligan’s unflinching eye when tacking controversial or sensitive issues, as well as his desire to reflect the contemporary world as strongly as possible. Despite tackling a character from an altogether different age, in ‘Human Target’ he demonstrates this more sharply than ever: the last two pages will make you gasp.

Order the first ‘Human Target’ miniseries as a trade paperback and the ‘Human Target: Final Cut’ graphic novel from Amazon.

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By Eddie Robson

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