Human Target, vol. 1: Strike Zones
by Peter Milligan & Javier Pulido
As a writer, Milligan runs hot and cold for me. When he's phoning it in he can be pretty awful, but when he puts his best foot forward, as with the recently ended X-Statix, he can be quite entertaining. But for all that, I think that his most recent work on Human Target may be his best work ever. Even beyond his good work in the original mini and the Final Cut OGN, the regular series kicks the level of quality up another notch. Milligan uses Christopher Chase to explore the nature of identity in unique and interesting ways; but besides being a look at personal identity that would make Philip K. Dick proud, it's also an examination of our national identity. The three complete stories in this volume (collecting the first five issues) look at violence in entertainment, 9/11, corporate scandals, and professional atheletes. The stories manage to look at their protagonists and at the same time Chase as a catalyst. Equally fine is Pulido's artwork, with its deceptively simple style and thick lines. Pulido also has a expert grasp of how to use backgrounds effectively--when he leaves them out and shows only the figures, it's for an enhancement of the storytelling. The colors from Lee Loughridge & Javier Rodriguez also contribute positively to the experience. This is a great package from cover to cover, and for only $10. Buy it.
Rating: 4 (of 5)
by Ed Brubaker & Colin Wilson
Point Blank is a super-hero noir, but it is not simply a noir story with super-heroes thrown in. The central mystery in this tale--a prologue of sorts to Brubaker's acclaimed Sleeper--is one that could only take place in a world with super-powered persons. As with most Brubaker stories the plot is taut, and even when it seems that it might be going off the rails it isn't really, as he has the story under his complete control. The moody art by Wilson has some echoes of Dave Gibbons and even a bit of Chris Sprouse at times, but it's all filtered through a rough lens that reminds me of Flint Henry by way of Joe Kubert. It's not a great book, but it's very good, as Brubaker plays around in the Wildstorm sandbox, assimilating it into a world of his own.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)