The Human Target #9 – Tom King, Writer; Greg Smallwood, Artist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: This continues to be one of DC’s best books, jacking up the tension each and every issue as Christopher Chance edges closer and closer to his inevitable death. In a mostly silent opening to the issue, Ice wakes up to find Christopher not breathing, manages to save his life, and rushes him to the JLI headquarters where Doctor Midnite is able to give him a brief second lease on life. Everything comes out, and Ice finally learns just how close to death her new boyfriend is—which adds a whole set of new emotional stakes to the series. The two drive into the desert, in search of the unknown, but it soon becomes clear that everything isn’t right in Chance’s head—if it ever was. He’s increasingly paranoid, keeps looking to the sky in search of someone following him, and the paranoia increases until he assaults a random man in a diner who he becomes convinced is his stalker in disguise.
Who actually is stalking Christopher Chance and Ice? It’s not even clear that they are, as their name isn’t said until late in the issue. This is a genuinely clever hat trick, and it should be experienced as it is, so I’ll just say that this issue is one of the best uses of a character without that character even appearing in the issue. It’s clever, intense, and at times outright harrowing. But lurking in the background of the story is a very human tale of what a person is going to do when they know exactly how little time they have left. The romance between Chance and Ice started out as a pastiche of noir romances, but it’s evolved into something very different—a passionate story of exactly what love means when only days are remaining. And just when you think you know what’s going on, the last page delivers one last wild twist that leaves you guessing what you do and don’t know. Fantastic stuff.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.