The Complete Accident Man (Titan Comics)

Accident Man

Rating: 4/5 – A Character Study in Amorality.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow.    

By the time you’ve gotten on Mike Fallon’s bad side, it’s probably too late, and you’re probably already dead. A hit man for hire, Fallon gained his reputation for making his victims look like the victims of horrible accident. Hence the title of the book, collecting the four existing Accident Man stories from issues of the now defunct Toxic! magazine and reprints from Dark Horse Comics’ turn with the character.

Written and created by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner, names recognizable to any 2000AD fan, with art by Martin Edmond, Duke Mighten and John Earsmus (with some very nice Howard Chaykin cover art scattered throughout and on the cover), the book is a study in…not necessarily evil…but in amorality. Mike Fallon is all business and good at his job, even though his job involves killing other people. Materialistic, vain, and fairly unscrupulous, he’s the guy you probably shouldn’t be rooting for, but you wind up doing in any way…mainly because the people he comes up against are ten times more repugnant. You’ll laugh at some of the things he does to set up his targets, cringe a bit when he has to get violent and physical (he uses the “Newberry” fighting method…a mishmash of all the stuff he liked learning from different martial arts studies), and Mills and Skinner even through a panel in here (just one) where there’s a tender moment for the guy…before he goes to bash some more skulls in.

Different artists seemed to have a different take on Fallon as well. The Chaykin cover might have you thinking this is the flipside of James Bond, with the dapper gentleman in the tuxedo and the hot babe in one arm, but Edmond (the first artist to work on the character) had him looking more like an 80s thug than anything else. His hair was given to a punk flip to it, and Edmond’s very angular character designs made for a much grittier story than the reader might be expecting. Nothing wrong with that – this is the story of a hit man after all – but it takes Duke Mighten to give us the smoother, less brutish version of Fallon. Oh he’ll still go toe to toe with you, but he’ll look a lot classier when he does it.

Titan throws in plenty of extras, like a forward from Mills himself talking about how Accident Man has had an on-again/off-again relationship with Hollywood. As you read this book you’ll likely wonder why this hasn’t been made into a movie yet. Additionally, there’s plenty of sketches and layouts at the end to show how much work has been put into the character over the years.

Sometimes it’s just fun to root for the bad guy, and Mike Fallon is certainly a fun character to cheer on, even if he’d kill you as soon as look at you (provided someone was paying him). The real crime here is that it’s been more than 20 years since the first Accident Man story appeared and we only have four stories that comprise The Complete Accident Man. Here’s hope we’re not waiting twenty years for a second collection to show up.

Reviewed by: Al Sparrow – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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