Part nine of Christopher Chance’s mystery is here, and the element of danger is real for the first time. That danger doesn’t come from this issue’s guest star, but from the poison attacking Chance from the inside, as you can see in this preview. Tom King and Greg Smallwood are getting closer to the end and have brought in many members of the Justice League International, so what will this issue give us? Get ready for suspense and relationship drama, all wrapped in beautiful art.
SPOILERS AHEAD for The Human Target #9!
Using this opening sequence, here is an example of how great Tom King and Greg Smallwood are at collaborating. They both bring their talents to start this issue up by starting with a cold open, which amps up the excitement. I like that they played his near demise to showcase the poison in his body due to his protecting Lex Luthor. Seeing the poison play as something more substantial than his cough was great. With the poison and side effects playing heavy in this story, I think in the next couple of issues, we might see Christopher Chance have to face outer and inner obstacles, which should be very entertaining for us.
That life-and-death situation is just a little bit of a tease for the suspense in this issue. How Tom King and Greg Smallwood played the guest appearance in this issue was perfect. If you know your Justice League International lineup, then you know Batman was a player on that team. So far, we’ve had guest appearances by many members, and they have usually played to the spoil by the cover, and then we get them heavily featured in the issue, but that is not the case here. The chase and interaction play out like a haunting by Edgar Allan Poe or Alfred Hitchcock.
The way they play Christopher Chance against Batman is delightful; it would be like if we could get the thoughts of a chess player while they are playing. Here we can read Chance’s thoughts about how Batman would attack and how he would counter. The idea of Batman appearing put Chance off his game, which was amusing. I also like that it plays to the legend of Batman being so superb, but I also wonder if maybe the “unexpected spike” that affected Chance at the start of the issue could also be part of his case of paranoia.
Ice taken along was a great way to challenge her relationship with Christopher Chance. It’s great that in the opening, she is a significant factor in saving his life, and when they get on the road and begin the adventure, Chance doesn’t open up to her. She is left in the dark, causing her great agitation and adding to the drama, and may make you question how “real” their love is. I know I’ve been questioning it, but that is good as it challenges Tom King to create a worthwhile validation. In the end, I was satisfied with the outcome.
Greg Smallwood was challenged in this issue as there was not too much action. There wasn’t a play to running around rooftops and fisticuffs, but there were moments that could play to elevate the adrenaline. Greg does keep your interest in the issue by showcasing his style and human expression. The expressions of frustration, happiness, sorrow, and worry grace his art. This issue plays more like a soap opera, and I’m watching it because the actors are so talented. Greg’s art is first-class.
How often should you look over your shoulder when you’re a master of disguise? That number will increase when the Dark Knight Detective is hunting you. Or maybe it’s the guilt? Tom King and Greg Smallwood bring their best example of suspense to put the Human Target through the wringer.
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