The Human Goal #9
- tom king
- greg smallwood
- Clayton Cowles
- Cover artist:
- greg smallwood
- Release date:
- greg smallwood
the human goal is a 12-issue limited maxiseries published under DC’s Black Label imprint that follows Christopher Chance, aka The Human Target, as he seeks to find and kill the person responsible for poisoning him. At just twelve days old, the heart of the series is his relationship with Ice, a member of Justice League International. The pair believe they have successfully dealt with the party behind Chance’s attack, an attempt originally targeting Lex Luthor, whom Chance was impersonating at the time. Written by Tom King with art by Greg Smallwood and lyrics by Clayton Cowles, the human goal #9 follows Chance and Ice on a road trip fueled by paranoia.
This issue opens with a punch to the stomach, as readers see Chance effectively dead in the morning, saved only by Ice and his abilities. The sequence is completely silent, carried by Smallwood’s art, and it hits with tremendous impact. Following his near-death experience, readers are introduced to what will be the driving force for the rest of the issue. Chance awaits a visit from Batman. Human Target and Ice embark on a journey into the desert while he tries to get as far away as possible. During the trip, some long-held secrets come to light and Chance’s paranoia reaches a fever pitch.
King brilliantly captures Chance’s mood in this number. The narrative throughout the human goal It’s been strong, but this issue could be for the best. Readers can feel the dread levels boiling up inside of Chance. His concern that Batman might show up at any moment drives his every action and thought. While King’s storytelling is excellent, the personal connection between Chance and Ice also gets time to shine. Their relationship is the heart of the series. King never forgets that. The fondness between the two is palpable, and their chemistry is a true highlight.
Smallwood’s art is, as always, the star of the show. King’s writing may be stellar, but the art is unbelievably good. The opening sequence alone is an example of tremendously powerful visual storytelling. The camera positioning for each panel is excellent. He treats small moments with a subtlety that transmits a lot. The page layouts and bullet points are beautifully paced, keeping the reader engaged and the story visually fresh.
It is truly wonderful to see what Smallwood brings to the table in each issue. Character expressions are rendered with nuances, movements are strongly drawn, and contrast is everywhere. Much of this issue takes place in the desert, and that warm palette is a brilliant counterpoint to the coolness of Ice. The techniques used for shading create multiple levels of visually compelling color. The action is clear and easy to follow. Most of the issue is conversational, and Smallwood makes those moments as exciting as any superhero fight.
Cowles’ lyrics are the final component of the performance, and they’re great. Narration and dialogue efficiently guide readers through each page. Story boxes are routinely placed at the edges of the panels, cutting the art out of the white gutters, helping each page breathe.
What the human goal As it moves toward its conclusion, the characters are met with another layer of urgency. The love story at the center continues to thrive, and the sense of looming dread becomes more and more apparent. With the human goal #9, King, Smallwood and Cowles offer another master class in storytelling.