Grim_Noir Completes The Complete Accident Man

 

Title: The Complete Accident Man (Hardcover)

Writers: Pat Mills & Tony Skinner

Cover: Howard Chaykin

Art: Martin Emond (Book 1); Duke Mighten (Book 2 & Dark Horse mini-series); John Erasmus (Book 3)

Published by Titan Comics

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

Imagine you dump all of the pieces from your childhood “Mouse Trap” and “Clue” games into a single box. Then, randomly select rules from both instruction manuals, and play out that mashed-up game. Now, you have a vague idea of the world of Accident Man.

On the outside, Mike Fallon is a handsome man with a high-paying job and women constantly hanging off his arm. Sounds like Bruce Wayne or James Bond? Wrong. Think more along the lines of a U.K. version of American Psycho, only without the barely contained stockbroker sublimation.

Accident Man pg 11

Fallon is an amoral sociopath whose unrelenting lust for lucre leads him (at an early age) to blackmail another “accident man” into teaching Mike the trade. Being an “Accident Man” means being an assassin who makes every “contract” look like death by misadventure. Not only can there be no trace of a killer or weapon, the death must look like an accident, even to a trained coroner. And Mike is a very dedicated craftsman in his chosen profession: There is an unleashed and unhinged inventiveness to the Rube-Goldberg-like lengths some of these hits go.

This relentless, remorseless hitman is just a way for Pat Mills and Tony Skinner (of 2000 AD fame) to write tales of social commentary on the 80s and 90s. Loaded with the horrible puns and background jokes that the Brits so love, Accident Man gleefully skewers everything from martial arts movies, to animal rights activists, to T.V. evangelists. Nothing is sacred. No one ever repents. And no lessons are ever learned by anyone, even when Mike is hunting his ex-wife’s killer in Book 1.

Accident Man pg 188

In Mills’ and Skinner’s world EVERYONE is an animal underneath, or hopelessly stupid. It make it fun to see some poseur get theirs, even by someone as hollow and corrupt as they are, but it is not a world you would want to live in (despite Pat Mills’ declaration in the introduction that he believes we are living in that world).

Since this series ran in fits and starts, several artists have played in the world of the Accident Man. While they all “get” the idea and execute it well, there is a definite unevenness to the series when viewed as a whole: Martin Emond’s original interpretation of the character is slightly blobby, slightly muddy, and bordering on caricature. Duke Mighten is a really talented disciple of the Church of Chaykin, who captures the excesses of the late 80s. And, in Book 3, John Erasmus somehow fuses the two styles, along with the eye of a painter and instincts clearly honed by a diet of Italian comics. The action is always swift and brutal (and often the sex is, too), no matter who the artist is.

part of Accident Man pg 140

As a hardcover, this is a pricey and (very) adult tome. However, for the right mindset, this book is a cultural artifact and a bargain at the price.

Ol' Grim Hisself

* GRIM_NOIR is convinced that the internet is a figment of his imagination. Please comment below and/or follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter or Friend him on Facebook or Good Reads to end his self-delusions.

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