Peter Milligan is one of the best writers when it comes to what is skin deep. He has written many things about this, such as the out of print Skin from Tundra in 1992, Face for Vertigo in 1995 and now Human Target.
The first chapter in the re-imagined Human Target introduces all the key players: Tom McFadden (the other Human Target?), Christopher Chance and Emerald. All three people represent the same coin, but different sides. One is the head, another is the tail, while the third is that rim people always forgets to talk about, that area where its not quite head or tail.
To define the Human Target best, it is to refer him as a reputation. A man where he takes his pride seriously and his job to to get into and under your skin.
This intro issue is a great set up to the mini series.
In this issue Chance meets... Chance? Two Christopher Chases and a lady (assassin Emerald) who wants them both dead. In this case both Chances are the heads (Lost in himself) and tails (Lost in the job) of a coin, while Emerald is that rim no one speaks about. Both Chances are polar opposite and Emerald is that blend where she can go either way: (1) lost in her job or (2) lost in herself. At this stage both Human Targets think they are the same guy and Peter Milligan is flipping the coin around in front of us.
What is great about this Human Target Mini is the duality of the Human Target. How deep does the Human Target have to go to impersonate before he loses himself?
This issue is where Tom McFadden really comes to life and we see him struggle with his loss of Identify (Self). No one writes the inner conflict of a person better then Peter Milligan.
Like many good stories, the hero must fall before he can rise. The Human Target is always Christopher Chance, this was true before Peter Milligan. The Human Target is not a two-sided coin, a complex struggle between Self and Reputation, with no allowance to be that rim of the coin.
Peter Milligan is brilliant, the series wraps up nicely. Peter's best stories are those stories where the character's worst enemy is his or her "self" and this mini series about identity is a nice way to question that inner struggle.
Flipping the Coin:
Peter Milligan tip toes between sanity and insanity better then anyone. He does this because he understands that conflict between Id and Ego. This is a series where it really can make you think about yourself if you let it. Because what is "Self" is self a reputation, is it skin deep, is it something more.