While continuing the murder mystery that is Human Target, which has tasked Christopher Chance with finding out who wants to kill Lex Luthor, I had to ask myself: did I just read a romance comic? Yes, I did. No matter the genre, Tom King shows his talents for deep dives into character and suspense in this issue, which is dressed in astonishing artwork by Greg Smallwood.
SPOILERS AHEAD for The Human Target #3!
The opening hits very nicely on day 3 of Chance’s dilemma, where he is revisiting his feelings and ills. King does a great job of creating an illusion of love that is probably lust dressed up in lies from Ice and Chance. I enjoyed how the fond memories are helping to curb the pain of the poisoning before being dashed by the appearance of Guy Gardner. That introduction page is perfect, with power and restraint in Guy. Yet, at the heart of their meet-up is a lover’s quarrel.
Tom King does a great job of writing a Guy Gardner who has seemed to have regressed to his late ’80s mentality, and shows justified anger since this is a matter of the heart. I like how this isn’t Guy busting through a wall swinging, which shows maturity on Guy’s part; instead, it is a cool, collected, and somber Guy who straight-up asks Chance, “what’s your problem, man?” That moment hits pretty profoundly when you’re talking to someone spending time and intimacy with a person you deeply love.
King makes an interesting choice in pairing Chance and Ice, but it does a great job creating a comic book romance scandal. I’ve seen plenty of comics showcasing Ice and Guy’s relationship, a relationship that has matured since he took her out on raunchy dates in the Justice League International comics. King does a great job here showing Guy’s frustration about Chance interacting with Ice — Guy mentions all the ups and downs a relationship goes through and throws that in Chance’s face, calling out the fling.
Moving along to the book’s second act, we get our next JLI suspect in the form of Booster Gold. Booster is played as very much the fool here, and his story reeks of incompetence, but remember Booster is the “greatest hero you’ve never heard of,” so Tom King could be playing that angle. After questioning, there is an excellent part in the inner monologue boxes that talk about the camaraderie within the JLI, and it is lovely. If DC ever gets around to a JLI book in the future, King would be a great pick for writer.
With all the discussion and drama in the issue, Greg Smallwood gets to flex his muscles on faces and body language. He does a great job showing us the physical and emotional pain in Chance and Guy. There are little bits of action in the issue, which are more comical and calculated than wild, so Smallwood is tasked with making this as enjoyable as possible and succeeds in that mission. Romance and comics have a long history together, and King and Smallwood do a great job of continuing that tradition by amping it up to super-heroics mixed with spies and lies.
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