HUMAN TARGET: Strike Zones

Peter Milligan, Author, Javier Pulido, Illustrator . Vertigo $9.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-4012-0209-5

This tricky reinvention of a lesser-known DC character from the 1970s (created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino) is worth sampling. Christopher Chance, the title character, is the perfect investigator/bodyguard/impersonator. He can not only look like someone else but in effect become the endangered man whose place he's taking. Thus solving a case means not just preventing a murder but also figuring out how the victim created his own predicament. Chase has to admit that he (and his assumed identity) is somehow responsible for the mess, then resolve it (usually violently), and then struggle to escape from the guilty role he's been playing back into his own somewhat more innocent personality. This may sound abstract and pretentious, but Milligan's scripts deftly put Chance in situations that neatly illustrate his hero's identity crisis and also the uneasiness of many 21st-century people who discover that their behavior doesn't match their self-images. Milligan knows Chance isn't the only one perplexed by the attractiveness of media violence, the morally ambiguous aftermath of 9/11 or the temptation to enhance one's professional performance by using drugs. Pulido's art is less successful; it's better in overall design than execution of details. However, the pictures tell the stories well enough, and this is a comic that relies more on an intellectual concept than visual excitement. (May)

Reviewed on: 06/28/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
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FORMATS
Paperback - 104 pages - 978-1-56389-693-4
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-1-4012-0419-8
Paperback - 199 pages - 978-1-4012-2666-4
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