Monday, March 29, 2010

Human Target #6 - 13

Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Cliff Chiang and Javier Pulido

I was going to continue reading this book in trade after enjoying the first volume so much, when I came to the realization that it was never collected past the tenth issue, and have instead started to hunt down the single issues. I recently came across a small sequential pile of issues at a nice price, and jumped at the chance to dive back in to Peter Milligan's take on the classic character.

These eight issues contain four stories, varying in length from one-off to three-parters. The first story involves Christopher Chance protecting a priest with some secrets in his past. It's kind of a brutal story, but very well told.

The second story, 'Which Way the Wind Blows' has Chance get involved in the problems of some ex-60's terrorist Weathermen. One of the would-be revolutionaries killed a cop back in the day, and has been hiding his identity ever since. The task of impersonating a person that doesn't really even exist is fitting for Chance, since he increasingly is questioning his own existence.

The next issue finds Chance being contacted by an old friend who has busted out of prison to meet up with his wife, and who needs Chance to run interference for him, staying in the media's eye, and helping to restore his reputation. This story has a nice twist to it which I didn't see coming.

All of the previous issues were drawn by Cliff Chiang, who is a master comics artist. His work is wonderful throughout, and I would usually be quite sad to see him leave the book, except that his replacement for the last three issues in this pile is Javier Pulido, who is probably even better than Chiang.

Pulido's first issue, which serves as both prologue to the next story and as a mostly self-contained character piece, does not have any panel borders. One picture bleeds into the next, and between that style and the brightness of the colouring, looks a little like an issue of Hawaiian Dick. It's great.

For the rest of the arc, about Chance's girlfriend's activities with illegal immigration and Mexican child traffickers, is more traditionally laid out, but still fantastic to look at.

The stories here tend a little towards the brutal, with the sheer quantity of abused children that Milligan keeps trotting out. That however, is the only note that bothers me, the rest of the series is incredible. It's a shame that the producers of the television series didn't bother to really understand the rich psychological possibilities of this comic, opting instead for yet another mindless action show.

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