Review – The Human Target #7: Playing With Fire

Comic Books DC This Week
The Human Target variant cover, via DC Comics.

The Human Target – Tom King, Writer; Greg Smallwood, Artist

Ray – 9.5/10

Ray: After an extended break and one phenomenal one-shot, Tom King and Greg Smallwood’s unique tale of a man trying to solve his own murder returns for its second half. When we last left off, Christopher Chance and his lover Ice had been forced to murder a deranged Guy Gardner after his obsession with Ice crossed the line. They covered things up and are keeping their distance from each other—just in time for Chance to figure out who supposedly murdered him with poison. That would be Fire, Ice’s best friend (and maybe more, if you ask many fans). She’s written pretty much as the prototypical femme fatale here, with Chance’s interrogation of her taking the form of a date and dancing. She’s so unflappable, in fact, that their date gets interrupted by a gang robbery and Fire doesn’t even lose a beat—just blasting the guns out of their assailants’ hands.

Behind the rope. Via DC Comics.

From there, their date becomes a little more private. The way King writes Chance assuming the identity of his targets is the best part of this book, and the slip into Lex Luthor mode for one conversation here is brilliant. But this issue is essentially two people with their own agendas dancing around each other for answers, and what both Chance and Fire want isn’t what you might expect. Ice isn’t in much of this issue until the end, but her presence looms large, and the ending of the story reveals a shocking twist that throws the concept of the series for a loop. This comic reminds me a lot of Rorschach, in that its main character isn’t really the emotional heart of the story and is in some ways kept at a distance from the viewer. Chance parcels out his backstory like a tool he uses, and it’s impossible to fully figure out who he’s conning at any given moment. But the clock is still ticking, and the tension hasn’t lost a step in this return.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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