The Human Target #1 to #6 review: Tom King's murder mystery is one of DC Black Label's best

'The Human Target' comic cover (Image via DC Comics)
'The Human Target' comic cover (Image via DC Comics)
Rohit Rajput

The Human Target is a 12-issue mini-series based on Christopher Chase. Written by Tom King with art provided by Greg Smallwood, the series is released under DC's Black Label of comics.

Warning, mild spoilers will be mentioned below in the review.

The Human Target follows Chase and tells the story of him solving a murder. Only that murder happens to be of his own.

When trying to save Lex Luthor, Christopher Chase accidentally is poisoned and has 12 days to live. In these 12 days, he teams up with the metahuman ice to go and solve his murder and possibly save himself in the process.

A page from the comic (Image via DC Comics)
A page from the comic (Image via DC Comics)

The Human Target

tells a fun story with some breathtaking art

One thing that instantly stood out when reading The Human Target was the art. It has this puply and vibrant feeling that I always had my eyes stuck on it no matter what. From the cover pages to how some of the illustrations were done, this was just top-notch stuff, not to mention the coloring.

Each and every page has personality, and that's very rare in comic books nowadays. It had this sense of feeling very cartoonish but at the same time realistic in a way.

When you see Blue Beetle on the screen, Smallwood makes sure the blue pops. Honestly, this was my favorite part of the series, and I can't wait to see more of it.

Read the human target #6! I'm loving this book, because it has superlative writing with great artistic choices, it's refreshing because it's not a generic evil vs good surface level story with minimum character exploration (which is what dc saturates the market with recently)

Tom King writes a fun detective mystery

The Human Target is about a murder mystery, although the man supposed to die is investigating it himself. After being poisoned, you find Christopher Chase, the Human Target, doing his best to make sure that he catches the culprit. The story here is spread out over 12 days, with each issue taking place over one day.

It's a great way of telling the story as you follow every step these characters take. The format here helps you relate with them and helps make them even more relatable. I loved that aspect of the book, and it also helps develop the relationship of our central leads, Chase and Ice.

For DC fans, characters like Blue Beetle, Batman, Booster Gold, Martian Manhunter, and more pop up.

Another page from the comic (Image via DC Comics)
Another page from the comic (Image via DC Comics)

Christopher Chase makes for an interesting protagonist

Now, I wasn't exactly familiar with the character of the Human Target, and King's series is a great starting point for anyone. I dig the way this character is written and presented over here. As the issues go, you learn more about his backstory and why he is the way he is now.

Issue 5 was a favorite in this regard as it revolved entirely around a character passing the salt. You learn about these characters so much in the middle of that. Nothing world-ending is happening. Instead, it's just a guy trying to figure out who poisoned him.

A third page from the comic (Image via DC Comics)
A third page from the comic (Image via DC Comics)

His relationship with Ice goes a long way, too, as she is quite the fun on-screen romantic partner. She and Chase's relationship is the heart of this book, and in many ways, Ice is the soul.

Whenever they are together on a page, you know it will be something magical.

Fans might be alienated to see some characters acting the way they aren't supposed to

Tom King is notorious for adding his spin on legacy characters, and I feel it may rub some fans the wrong way. For example, Guy Gardner is written as an insecure, pompous individual still hung up on his ex.

Guy Gardner vs Christopher Chase (Image via DC Comics)
Guy Gardner vs Christopher Chase (Image via DC Comics)

He makes sure to make life for Chase as complicated as he can and has his head literally shattered in the most dramatic way possible. That will definitely have fans a bit annoyed.

It didn't matter that much to me because it served the story, and I was relatively okay with it, but it's worth mentioning.

Human Target by @TomKingTK and @SavageSmallwood would have to take all the Eisner Awards. OMG! It's so good!

Final verdict

The Human Target wraps up a fun story that has me looking forward to the next half of the series. From the art to the writing and exploration of Chase's character, this series is a home run in many ways.

Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinions of the writer.

Edited by Ravi Iyer


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