Human Target: Final Cut

Summary: In the psychological thriller HUMAN TARGET: FINAL CUT, Christopher Chance, a unique bodyguard that assumes the identity of the person that he is protecting, finds himself caught in a tangled web of Hollywood deceit, drugs and duplicity. While posing as an elderly film actor, the Human Target successfully takes down and kills the man who has been extorting aging thespians. But when Chance learns that the extortionist has also kidnapped a child actor, the master of disguise must impersonate his dead victim in order to find the boy before he dies of starvation. Entering into a world of veiled loyalties and shattered dreams, Chance looks to have taken on his final role as he slips dangerously deep into his fake identity and begins to lose his own sense of self.

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Human Target: Final Cut, by Peter Milligan, Javier Pulido and Dave Stewart 8.0

Well, I can now confirm that I’ve become a fan of Peter Milligan’s version of ‘Human Target’.

In this graphic novel, the follow-up to the four-part mini-series, Milligan further explores the psychological damage that this line of work inflicts on the individual. What would happen to one’s mind if one were to completely inhabit another human being’s life, to become them, for days or weeks on end? What would happen when one can no longer tell the difference between the role and reality?

Milligan had already explored this concept in a sketchy fashion in the previous book via Christopher Chance’s assistant, Tom. But, in ‘Final Cut’, he decided to make Chance himself lose sight of himself, to start wondering if and where he existed in this charade of a life that he’s built for himself. Disjointed and confused, Chance begins to worry about his own sanity.

While I wonder about Chance’s sudden febrility, given that this is work that he’d been doing for decades already, this aspect is nonetheless the key strength of the book: we get an insider’s view on his mental deliberations and how it affects his conduct with clients and the rest of the world. I’m not sure that I agree with the direction that Milligan takes him in every time, but it remains engrossing.

If there is anything bogging the book down, it’s the way that the story was all wrapped up; it felt rushed and perhaps too convenient, with twists and turns that were neither foreshadowed nor emotionally satisfying. Still, everything leading up to it was well-considered and makes up for the sudden, unexpected finality of Christopher Chance’s story – as well as the resolution of our mystery.

Once again, Milligan Worked with relatively able artists to give his tale a more appealing look. Javier Pulido’s pencils are good enough, but the end result was given a considerable boost by Dave Stewart’s colouring, which helped fill in the detail and give the panels a more realistic flair. Also, I know that it’s usually a fairly forgettable gig, but Todd Klein’s lettering was exact and is worthy of mention.

All in all, ‘Human Target: Final Cut’ was an excellent book. It continues to develop a character that I only just discovered in the previous series and takes him on a complex internal journey. I am very curious to see where Milligan will take Christopher Chance next. There is absolutely no doubt that I will get the next books if I can get them. ‘Human Target’, in Milligan’s hand, is well worth it.

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