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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Human Target
Chance Meetings


Author: Peter Milligan
Artists: Edvin Biuković and Javier Pulido
Titan Books
RRP: £9.99, US $14.99
ISBN: 978 1 84856 637 8
Available 26 February 2010

If you're in danger, and every normal method of protection has failed, then you need to call on Christopher Chance - the Human Target. A master of disguise with an uncanny ability to impersonate and integrate himself into his clients' lives, Chance protects you by becoming you. He is both the ultimate decoy and the ultimate bodyguard - able to lure out threats and then neutralize them in near-perfect surprise. For Chance, however, the physical hazard - a steady erosion of his own identity, and with it a growing disconnection from the already tenuous reality of contemporary Los Angeles...

Human Target: Chance Meeting collects together Vertigo's 1999 four-issue mini-series and 2002 Final Cut graphic novel. The series was later relaunched as an ongoing comic book which lasted from October 2003 to June 2005. The character first appeared in issue #419 (December 1972) of DC Comics's Action Comics. This collection has been reprinted to tie-in with the release of the new (2010) Fox series which is based on the same characters.

The premise is simple, but the plot threads that author Peter Milligan weaves are nothing short of impressive. It's not often that I'm totally sucked into the world laid out in a comic book, but Human Target has something in the writing that makes you feel for all of the characters. Even the villains, like Emerald, have realistic and likeable qualities. But it's Chance himself that's the most interesting character here - just when you think you've got him worked out he does something unexpected.

Chance makes a living from becoming a human target. He's a master of disguise and is able to get under the skin of those he's protecting - mimicking them perfectly - so that hit men paid to kill them will instead be tricked into targeting Chance. He's so good at his job that even close friends and family of his clients can't tell the difference.

When a routine assignment to impersonate an African-American minister with a bounty on his head goes south, Chance is soon caught between a lethal assassin and a vicious gang war. As this psychological thriller takes the reader through a roller coaster of unexpected twists and turns, it is soon discovered that it is Chance himself with price on his head and the only way he can survive is to solve this deadly mystery.

This collection packs more into its 200 pages than most comics do over 20 years. Fantastic.


Darren Rea

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