Review – The Human Target #5: Welcome to the Mindscape

The Human Target #5 variant cover, via DC Comics,

The Human Target #5 – Tom King, Writer; Greg Smallwood, Artist

Ray – 9/10

Ray: As Tom King books go, this one hasn’t been as twisty as his usual fare. It’s been a fairly straightforward murder mystery—with the caveat that the murder victim and the detective are one and the same, with Christopher Chance investigating the members of the JSA one by one. Well, no more of that, in this issue that ostensibly focuses on Martian Manhunter. Except that J’onn is hardly in this aside from the bookends. While Chance, J’onn, and Ice (who Chance is quickly falling in love with) have dinner, the story unfolds over several timelines that take him inside characters’ minds. It heavily centers around a new character, Emra. She’s from Titan just like Saturn Girl—except that she lives in the presence, works for some seriously shady figures, and facilitates much of Chance’s journey into the mind. It is a King book, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we’re taking a complex look at the past, present, and future.

Trouble in mind. Via DC Comics

That past in particular holds some dark secrets, as we get our first glimpse of Chance’s childhood. Raised by a single father with a tendency towards drink and gambling, Chris watches as his dad gets deeper and deeper into the weeds, eventually pisses off the wrong loan shark, and pays the price. I like that this is a nuanced look at a troubled parent—his father clearly loves him and wants better for him, but he can’t figure out his own demons. This issue unfolds like a puzzle box, often slightly disorienting with characters turning into each other and twisted reveals about the inner workings of the JLI. It can be a little hard to tell just how this all dovetails into the rest of the story, but it all comes together nicely in the finish as we get a huge clue towards the identity of the culprit—except that we’re less than halfway through the story. As always, it’s challenging to even hazard a guess of where King is leading us.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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