The Human Target #12 – Tom King, Writer; Greg Smallwood, Artist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Tom King finales are always an odd situation, and you can bet one thing—you probably won’t get everything tied up in a neat bow. King, especially when working with obscure characters, always approaches things from a messy, psychological, real-world perspective. That’s definitely the case with this series, which focused on the world’s greatest master of disguise as he faced down his own death with a twelve-day ticking clock. We’re at day twelve… and he’s dead. Following up on the scene we saw in the very first scene of the series, Christopher Chance died alone in a hotel room after asking his new love Ice to let him have his last moments in peace. We now know that he died as a result of a failed poisoning plot on Lex Luthor that involved most of the JLI—including Ice herself—but the story is far from over. After eleven issues as the femme fatale to Chance’s lead, it’s time for Ice to take the lead.
The story begins on day 12, but starts moving forward—as Chance’s clock has stopped, but the world has not. It opens with a heartbreaking, mostly final segment as Ice finds his hotel room a little too late—and finds a message from the deceased. From there, she starts tying up loose ends—meeting with an old friend of Chance’s, talking things out with Fire, and dealing with the oily Guy Gardner as he tries to take advantage of Chance’s passing. She even gets one over on Martian Manhunter, as we build to a highly satisfying finale that ties things up nicely. This series is obviously out of continuity, as its takes on the JLI are pretty far from what we’d expect. Everyone is a little more twisted, a little more corrupt. A fan of the classic comic could be turned off by that, but when you think of it as a noir story using these characters as a jumping-off point for an Elseworlds, it works brilliantly—just like many of King’s past works.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.