Human Target #13 Review

Reviewer: Mathan “I’m still shaken” Erhardt
Story Title: Crossing the Border Part Two: Hey, Jude

Written by: Peter Milligan
Penciled and Inked by: Javier Pulido
Colored by: Javier Rodriguez
Lettered by: Clem Robins
Cover by: John Watkiss
Editor: Karen Berger
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics

Christopher Chance has the uncanny gift for becoming other people. He uses his gift to help people in need. Mary White, the wife of a former client, who Chance is currently seeing, is wrapped up in a business that helps reunite families that are separated by the U.S.’s border to the south. Chance has to step up to help her out of a jam.

Last issue ended with Mary White being visited by Jorge Caballero, a rival in the coyote (illegally transporting people across the border) trade. This issue begins on an equally unsettling note; Mary and Jorge on a yacht, preparing for a “date.”

Chance continues on his quest to find Maria Centeno, a girl from El Salvador who, in an effort to reunite with her mother, is about to enter into the child sex trade unbeknownst to her. The grim reality of the situation causes Chance to become darker and more brutal than usual. And while Chance is doing his part, Mary is trying to extract information by dealing with a devil.

Chance ends up in San Diego at the house of a man who deals in the sex trade and deal in children. Chance acts swiftly and decisively. He arrives too late to find Maria, who as moved on further down the underground circuit. He does rescue one of the girls who, as a result of what she’s endured, shares a knack for becoming “other” people.

Even though the girl isn’t her daughter, Maria’s mother takes her in. Chance confronts Jorge, in a manner of speaking. Mary and Chance then try to put the ordeal behind them.

Milligan has written a difficult story to read. Not that it’s confusing, but the subject matter is so dark, that a happy ending is impossible. Milligan forces readers to confront a reality that most are happy to ignore. He crafts a threat to Mary and almost makes you glad that he doesn’t spell out what happens; you’re relieved to not have to know. While Chance’s actions may have been wrong on every level, you cheer him on and support his every move. It’s a tough story to read, but the writing is top notch.

Pulido is doing some fine work. The scenes between Mary and Jorge are perfectly explain things, without spelling them out. I really dug seeing Chance sport a “mask” on page three. Chance searching the vacant house is so disturbing, as is the nonchalance of those selling the children into sex slavery. Pulido captures everything perfectly. Rodriguez does an equally good job coloring especially the blood splatters. Robins does a fine job of capturing speech pattern by the emphasis of certain words. And the gasps on page seven almost make you have pity on the man suffering, almost.