The Human Target is a high-concept character that’s been around since the ‘70s. Christopher Chance is an exceptionally talented man who impersonates his endangered clients to serve as their decoys. A master-of-disguise, man-of-many-faces sort of thing, but with a strong action bent. And his talents truly are talents, not superpowers. It’s a great concept for either comics or television, and it’s been used in both mediums.
The concept proved to be an excellent fit for DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, the company’s R-rated line that tends to focus on more mature themes. Writer Peter Milligan re-envisioned the character as a man who’s losing his own sense of identity as his job constantly requires him to become someone else, and it’s a fascinating approach that adds existential depth to the action and intrigue.
After a couple of miniseries, DC/Vertigo promoted Milligan’s Human Target to an ongoing series, and its first issue works wonderfully as a pilot. It’s accessible in the sense that the reader requires no expository recap to get into the story, but it wisely withholds information about what’s going on, allowing the issue to build to a twisty finale that sets the tone for the series.
Very intelligently handled, and still worth a look over a decade later.
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Javier Pulido
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in Human Target vol. 1: Strike Zones (TPB)
Appropriate For: ADULTS ONLY