Review – The Human Target #11: Denouement

Comic Books DC This Week
The Human Target #11 variant cover, via DC Comics.

The Human Target #11 – Tom King, Writer; Greg Smallwood, Artist

Ray – 9.5/10

Ray: Tom King’s stand-alone superhero series have always been intense, but he’s never quite done a full-on noir like this. And with every noir, there has to be a victim—and a killer. The victim is also our detective—Christopher Chance, who has been fatally poisoned in a murder attempt on Lex Luthor and is now seeing his last days tick down. As for the killer, we know it’s someone linked to the JLI—and last issue indicated it might just be Chance’s lover Ice. So for this penultimate issue, the story focuses entirely on Chance and Ice, as they spend what is likely his last day together alone on the ocean. And in that peaceful moment, the truth slowly starts to come out. Surprisingly, this all comes down to a story from over twenty years ago, when Ice was possessed and later killed by the villain Overmaster—sending her boyfriend Guy Gardner and her best friend Ice into complete despair.

Day at the beach. Via DC Comics.

Then, of course, Ice came back—but she never quite came back the same, and the wounds never healed. We’ve seen a few stories dealing with the aftermaths of deaths and resurrections in superhero comics, but rarely to this level of intimacy. This isn’t a story where the killer is unmasked and gives a megalomaniacal speech about why they did it. This isn’t about finding a villain. It’s about finding the truth, no matter how much pain it causes. Some of the decisions people make towards the end of the issue might cause some controversy, but it makes a good deal of sense—especially when you consider the unique way Christopher Chance views the world. The last few pages find Chance like he began—alone and facing death on his own. With one issue to go, we’re left with a brutal cliffhanger that reminds me more of Brubaker’s style than King’s usual style. And I am feeling the tension with only twenty pages to go.

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

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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