The Human Target #8 – Tom King, Writer; Greg Smallwood, Artist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: As we enter the final act of Tom King and Greg Smallwood’s JLI noir thriller, the clock starts ticking ever faster on Christopher Chance’s life. That makes this issue all the more tense, as his investigation hits a roadblock—a big Russian roadblock in the form of erstwhile JLI member Rocket Red. While Red isn’t the friendliest member of the team and isn’t always associated with the team, he’s got some close ties to them—and may be the only person on the team who can regularly stomach Guy Gardner. But now Guy’s gone missing, Rocket Red may be the only one looking, and he’s tracked down the one person who may have seen him last. Of course, we know that Guy was killed by Christopher and Ice after he went nuts and attacked them, in a self-defense fight that turned far bloodier than expected. But Red doesn’t know any of that, he doesn’t care, and so begins a brutal one-on-one showdown.
With Chance’s life measured in days, that makes the technique the creative team uses this issue all the more compelling. With each attack, Chance feels hours slipping away in unconsciousness, not knowing how much time he’s losing. The interrogations get increasingly intense and violent, and the two become engaged in a battle of male ego. By the time things take a turn and Ice steps in to prevent it from escalating, we can almost feel the tension lessening—and then Christopher’s rage explodes in a brutal scene that’s up there with the best of the series. Choosing to focus each issue on a different member of the JLI was a risky move, but it’s worked really well so far. Despite the pitch-black noir tone of the book, this does in many ways feel true to the odd family vibe of the JLI, and it’s part of why this is going to go down as another classic in King’s library.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.