New DC Human Target is a 12-issue "whodunit"

The Human Target
(Image credit: DC)

DC has released new images and new details about writer Tom King and artist Greg Smallwood's November 2 debuting 12-issue Black Label series The Human Target, calling it a "stylish, Hitchcockian thriller" in which Christopher Chance has 12 days to solve his own murder. 

(Image credit: DC)

According to the publisher, chance's latest case is protecting Lex Luthor, and after an assassination attempt Chance doesn't see coming, it leaves him feeling vulnerable as he tries to discover who in the DC Universe hated Luthor enough to want him killed. 

That sounds likes everyone to us, but maybe that's the whole point. 

Remember, Chance's entire career as a 'human target' is built on posing as others trying to draw them into an attempt to kill him, so whatever happens during this series must be out of the ordinary.  

"The Human Target is a transcendently beautiful series about a man learning to live just in time to die," says King. "It's about being alone and being in love; it's about knowing just where you're going and having no idea where you are. It's a grimy sexy pulp romance Justice League book and its comics' next true obsession."

"Throwing a dash of hard-boiled cynicism into the world of fun and poppy superheroes is a visual juxtaposition that is rife with possibilities," adds Smallwood. "Tom has gifted me an opportunity to explore style, atmosphere, and character in a bold way that is rarely afforded to artists."

In addition to Smallwood's interior and cover art, The Human Target #1 also features variant covers from Trevor Hairsine, Danny Miki, and Jenny Frison.

(Image credit: DC)

The Hairsine and Miki #1 and #2 variants connect to form the cover of a 'Whodunit' board game. The back cover features a pin-up calendar, "leaning into the mid-century feel of the comic," says DC. 

If you take a close look at the 'Whodunit' cover, the board game (a seeming play on the classic Clue) is produced by Pennyworth Bros., a definite play on iconic board game manufacturer Parker Bros. but with Parker displaced by the surname of Batman's butler Alfred. 

The publisher also says The Human Target will be King's latest series to show off his "magic touch when it comes to plumbing the depths of the DC Universe and reimagining characters for a new generation of fans," and will appeal to fans of titles like 100 Bullets.

Check out all the images released for the series in our gallery. 

Original story follows...

The Human Target is returning to DC.

Writer Tom King has confirmed Newsarama reporting that he and artist Greg Smallwood would be collaborating on a new Black Label Human Target title for DC, further verifying the title will star Christopher Chance along with posting the cover.

"This Fall.

"Christopher Chance, The Human Target, wants to make something of it," reads King's latest tweet.

The writer earlier tweeted just a portion of the same cover showing the superhero arms but without any other information.

(Image credit: DC)

While there have been two characters that have gone by the title the Human Target in DC comics history, the new King-Smallwood title will star the second - Christopher Chance.

Created by the comic book brand names Len Wein, Carmine Infantino, and Dick Giordano in 1972, the character first appeared in Action Comics #419 as a backup story 'The Assassin-Express Contract.'

Most of his early appearances were in backup stories in Action Comics, The Brave and the Bold, and Detective Comics, and guest appearances. 

Inspired by witnessing his own father's murder when he was a boy, Chance is a private investigator, and sort-of bodyguard who as opposed to protecting individuals in danger of more powerful criminals and killers, disguises himself as his clients and assumes their identity to even the odds. 

The concept has inspired two TV series - a short-lived 1992 ABC series starring post-'Jesse's Girl' Rick Springfield and then a 2010 Fox series starring Mark Valley that aired for two seasons.

The character has also appeared a couple of times in the fifth and sixth seasons of the WB's Arrow played by actor Wil Travel, sometimes coming to the aid of Green Arrow's team. 

Writer Peter Milligan adapted the character for a 1999 Vertigo Human Target limited series, which was followed by a graphic novel Human Target: The Final Cut, and another Vertigo Human Target series that lasted 21 issues. 

Another DC Comics' Human Target series written by co-creator Len Wein was published to coincide with the 2010 TV series. 

And yes, while King has not confirmed the meaning of the arms in the cover, Newsarama understands there will be some connection in the title to the late '80s Justice League International era by J. M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen, Kevin Maguire as many heroes represented in the image were part of that era.

Newsarama will report more details as they become available. 

Speaking of DC's former mature readers' imprint, Newsarama looks at 10 Vertigo comic books that defined the era.

I'm not just the Newsarama founder and editor-in-chief, I'm also a reader. And that reference is just a little bit older than the beginning of my Newsarama journey. I founded what would become the comic book news site in 1996, and except for a brief sojourn at Marvel Comics as its marketing and communications manager in 2003, I've been writing about new comic book titles, creative changes, and occasionally offering my perspective on important industry events and developments for the 25 years since. Despite many changes to Newsarama, my passion for the medium of comic books and the characters makes the last quarter-century (it's crazy to see that in writing) time spent doing what I love most.