Tales of the Human Target #1 – Tom King, Writer; Rafael Albuquerque, Kevin Maguire, Mikel Janin, Greg Smallwood, Writers; Dave Stewart, Alex Sinclair, Arif Prianto, Colorists
Ray – 10/10
Ray: Before the main series comes back from its extended hiatus—right off the shocking cliffhanger that led to the death of an iconic JL member—this oversized issue catches up with some of the secret history of the Justice League International, and it’s the kind of puzzle box of an issue that only Tom King could do. Greg Smallwood does a brief framing segment, but the three main issues are all by guest artists.
Rafael Albuquerque draws a Guy Gardner segment, as the brain-damaged Green Lantern gets involved in the case of a missing millionaire trust fund kid, who shows up months later as a violent member of the cult of Brother Blood. Gene Perelman may have started out as the victim, but he’s now the villain—and Guy seems to take it personally when this kid born with a silver spoon in his mouth causes him trouble.
Then there’s Booster Gold, who gets involved in the mysterious case of Salinger, a popular author who is targeted by an assassin. When it becomes clear that the attempt to kill him wasn’t isolated, Booster assigns himself to Salinger as a bodyguard whether the mercurial author likes it or not. This is the most broadly comic segment of the three, and Kevin Maguire is the perfect choice to capture Salinger’s increasing frustration.
Then there’s Mikel Janin on a Fire segment, set when she was a model in Brazil and her only confidant was her photographer Sander. When Sander is shot in what seems to be a random attack, the story turns into a moving piece on the intimacy of grief and death, and has some of the most powerful moments in the issue before it takes a stunning swerve.
So how do these all fit together? I knew the concept of the series, and yet each twist and turn still knocked my socks off. This issue is a master class in character work, suspense, and pacing, and probably goes down as the best issue of the series so far. King continues to surprise us with each new project.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.