Human Target #15 Review

Reviewer: Mathan “Saddened” Erhardt
Story Title: The Second Coming Part Two: “The Temptation of Christopher Chance”

Written by: Peter Milligan
Penciled and Inked by: Cliff Chiang
Colored by: Lee Loughridge
Lettered by: Clem Robins
Editor: Karen Berger
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics

Last issue Christopher Chance, a guy who impersonates people who need it, decided to become Paul James, a young man who claims to have the godlike ability to cure, which in turn spawned a cult. Paul needed some time off, so Chance agreed to take his place. Unbeknownst to Chance, the father of one of his followers has marked Paul for death.

Chance adapts to the life of Paul. He questions the sanity of his followers, and questions his father about how the whole situation began. His father tells him what he wants to hear. Then Chance meets Princess who wants nothing more than to sleep with Paul. She also happens to be the cult member with the angry father.

Chance is summoned by some members, who need his help. Julia Barr, a young woman that Paul “healed,” which helped loft him to the status he’s at today, has fallen back into a coma. Chance wants to back out, and tell them he’s an imposter, but he gives the people what they want, a show of religious fervor.

Meanwhile Camilleri and Carter, the two bickering hitmen assigned to kill Paul are staking out the compound. Carter gets tired of Camilleri’s haranguing and kills him.

Inside, Chance breaks character and tries to call for medical help. He tries to break the religious charade that holds sway over his followers. But just then Carter comes in guns a blazing. Chance’s head gets grazed and Paul’s father gets shot in the head trying to save his son. Chance returns two shots. One hits Carter in the head, and the other ricochets around and lands in Julia Barr’s leg, awakening her from her coma.

Again the members claim a miracle happened. Julia claims that she felt the Holy Spirit enter her body, Chance counters that it was the bullet. Other miracles happened at the same time as Julia’s. A man’s spine straightened, and a woman’s husband was cured of his erectile dysfunction. But with great power comes great responsibility.

The members want Paul to resurrect his dead father. Chance knows its impossible, but doesn’t want to let the people down, because he’s enjoying the love he’s feeling from them. The elders (his handlers) try to question him, but they realize he’s at the peak of his influence. Chance considers leaving the compound, but their adoration keeps him from leaving. Their adoration, and Princess really wants to sleep with him. She even tells him that he can pretend to be someone else if he wants to.

Meanwhile, the real Paul is proving to living a life of hedonism, the elders plot with Princess’s father to kill Paul, and Chance prepares to resurrect Paul’s father.

Milligan is a star. Chance is on of the most captivating characters around, and Milligan has fun with him. And this issue is fun. Carter and Camilleri’s bickering is hilarious. Chance adapting to life as Paul is equally funny. I really believe that Chance would feel torn in the situation that he’s in, which is a benchmark of good writing. And writing doesn’t come much better than on this title. Robins lettering is a solid as ever. The sound effects really stand out this issue. The gunplay is perfect. From the grazing of Chance, to the difference between the machine gun and the pistol, to the ricochet, all of the sounds sound right.

Chiang again provides stunning visuals. The expression on Chance’s face when he’s feeling conflicted, like on page 5, is perfect. Camilleri’s death is a pretty brutal one, as is Adam’s, and both are expertly colored, as is the rest of the issue. And watching the bullet ricochet around the room is funny and dramatic at once. Pages 17 & 18 also feature some great images; first Chance’s shock at Princess’ suggestion and second Paul’s night of debauchery.