Pullbox Reviews: The Complete Accident Man – Like a kick to the sensibilities…

The Complete Accident Man
Titan Comics
Co-Created & Written by Tony Skinner & Pat Mills
Art by
Martin Emond
Duke Mighten
John Erasmus
Howard Chaykin (covers)
Available now!

As sexy as James Bond, as lethal and discrete as an air bubble to the heart, Mike Fallon is a genius at the art of making assassination look like an unfortunate accident.

The Complete Accident Man collects, for the first time ever, four tales of sex, revenge and violence, written by legendary comics author Pat Mills together with Tony Skinner and artwork by an outstanding selection of international stars!

From the writer of legendary titles Charley’s War, Marshal Law, Nemesis the Warlock and many more, with artwork by a murderer’s row of talent, and a cover by the indomitable Howard Chaykin!

Debuting as a series of shorts in the pages of Toxic! in the early 1990’s, Accident Man is an astonishing example of what can happen when you adopt the philosophy, “fuck it, what’s the worst that can happen?” At his heart and soul (black and dusty as it is), Mike Fallon- man of mystery, wearer of all things designer, and murderer for hire- is an egotistical misogynist whose one redeeming quality is his scrupulous work ethic. He’s a perfectionist, and as such has become one of the highest paid, most sought after assassins in the world. Fallon is what’s known as the “Accident Man”, setting up his targets for fatal mishaps with meticulous care and an eye to detail.

I’m going to confess, I’d never heard of this title until very recently, and I’m sorry to say that it had nothing to do with a comicbook series. My interest was piqued by a trailer for an upcoming movie starring martial arts and action movie extraordinaire Scott Atkins (featured in Doctor Strange, American Assassin, but forever Boyka to his loyal fans), set to be released digitally and on BluRay February 6th (check out the trailer). Then just a few days later, I get a review pdf for this chaotic and beautifully violent collected edition through my email, courtesy of Titan Comics. I had to give it a look, just to get a feel for the humble beginnings from which the latest Atkins jaunt had sprung.

I started reading, and like an eye-witness at the scene of a horrific train crash, I couldn’t look away.

Before I get much farther into this review, and just in case you haven’t caught on yet, this book is not going to be for everyone, and it’s absolutely intended for mature- if you can really call it “maturity”- audiences. As far as protagonists go, Mike Fallon is pretty much the worst human being to whom you could assign that label. You thought the main character of Wanted was bad? Boy Scout! You thought Bond was a man whore? Sign him up for the priesthood. Fallon has evolved beyond the simple act of killing for money. He kills because he needs the newest, the best, the most ridiculously expensive toys at any given time. He’s a fan of sports cars and motorcycles, anything that goes fast and comes with a price tag that would induce nose bleeds and vomiting in normal folk.

Now, with all of that said, I can throttle it back a bit and get into some particulars. Yes, Mike Fallon is without a doubt a self-obsessed prick. However, he’s a prick who’s been entertainingly and knowingly written by the creative team of Tony Skinner and Pat Mills. Some out there might recognize these names from the pages of 2000AD (the birthplace of Judge Dredd), among other things. They’ve both been around and are no strangers to shady anti-heroes. But in between all of the cringe-worthy acts of self-indulgence, they’ve allowed a few cracks to appear in their creation’s admittedly thick and deeply rooted facade. Mike Fallon has very few redeeming qualities, and in fact if you read this book too fast you run the risk of skipping right past them. Most interesting was a moment of reflection and grief over the loss of his ex-wife Jill. There are also moments in which Fallon’s inner monologue offers hints of a moral compass, albeit one that spins a little wonky and doesn’t quite find “true north”. Where Accident Man really finds its redemption has nothing to do with its main character, but with the liberally applied doses of social and political commentary doled out by Skinner and Mills.

Over the course of his run from a series of featured Toxic! shorts to a miniseries from Dark Horse, Accident Man has had several visual styles, the majority of which display a decidedly European flair. The first artist to give Accident Man life was the late Martin Emond, with a highly stylized, very dramatic look. I can’t really find a comparison to anything else I’ve seen in a comicbook, except to point at some of the more bizarre worlds featured in the pages of Heavy Metal. Next at bat was Duke Mighten with a more sedate, traditional comicbook style. The highlights in Mighten’s run really came in the action sequences and fight scenes, giving the impression that although often exaggerated, he was always paying attention to the human form and movement in his work. The final contributor to Accident Man’s Toxic! Run was John Erasmus, who gave the series a look that brought the work of Corben to mind- again, showing the title’s roots to be firmly embedded in Europe and the U.K. The last arc comes courtesy of a Dark Horse miniseries, once again drawn by Duke Mighten, in an impressively detailed and dynamic black and white run.

Overall, the entire creative team has brought a decidedly unique character into the world. Yes, they’ve created something that often borders on the deranged, but it’s all done with a nod and a wink rather than simply being gratuitous for gratuity’s sake. But please, respected reader, don’t go lightly into this dark and twisted world. This isn’t something for the easily offended or morally upright. It’s more for those with a bit of a… lean and a bend.

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