The Human Target #4 – Tom King, Writer; Greg Smallwood, Artist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Tom King has always experimented with other genres, but I don’t think he’s ever immersed himself in one like this series. This is essentially a hard-boiled noir thriller stuffed inside a story featuring some of the wackiest superheroes around. As Christopher Chance races the clock to figure out who poisoned him, he targets the JLI one by one—accompanied by his partner and sometimes lover Ice. After interviewing Booster and dispatching Guy Gardner’s last issue, it’s Blue Beetle’s turn in the dock, and Ted Kord looks to be the best suspect yet. He’s got the assets needed to pull off an elaborate murder plot, he’s got the most personal reason to dislike Lex Luthor as one of his corporate rivals, and he’s connected to Booster and could easily have used him as a pawn to get the poison in the right place. The problem is… he’s nice. He’s really nice. He pretty much immediately jumps on board with Chance’s plan, and does everything he can to get him—and us—to want to rule him out.
Of course, a day with Ted Kord is never going to be ordinary, and Chance winds up tagging along for a typical day in the life of two superheroes. From bank robberies to rampaging bears, the two superheroes mop up the small-scale crises that the JLI is here for. All the while, Chance is grappling with his mortality and the fact that he may have found love when it’s too late. I know King’s… singular focus on emotional trauma and breaking down his heroes can be controversial, but when it’s this good, who am I to question? Greg Smallwood’s art is a perfect choice, somehow making the JLI characters seem bright and sunny while never losing touch with the inherent darkness of Chance’s world. And just as we think we know where things are going, a drunk Ted Kord drops one more crazy bombshell. King’s books are getting more and more off the beaten path, but I don’t think they’ve ever been this good.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.