Satirical, bloody, and definitely made for those with adult tastes, The Complete Accident Man collects the entirety of Pat Mills and Tony Skinner’s oeuvre about a professional hit man who makes his hits look like accidents. At the heart of this NSFW and darkly humorous thriller lurks a scathing commentary against consumerism, trussed up like a satire of James Bond and British sensibility.
Mike Fallon is known in the professional hit man world as “the Accident Man,” capable of making any murder look like a coincidence wrapped in circumstance. Taking great pains to keep his reputation intact, the Accident Man is one of the top assassins around. He’ll take any job for the right price, and he makes no excuses for his reprehensible occupation since “it’s better than sitting at a desk from 9 to 5.” At complete odds with his desire to remain anonymous are his extravagant tastes in clothing, motorcycles, and nightlife. Mike Fallon is usually willing to kill anyone for a down payment on his next custom Bimota racing bike, and lucky for him, he’s got the skills to charge top dollar for his services.
The stories contained in this collection revolve around Mike’s quest to avenge a former girlfriend, the victim of a hit due to her involvement with an environmental activist group. We follow the titular anti-hero as he lays waste to his targets in a bloodbath of martial arts and first-person narration. Arrogant past the point of boorishness, the Accident Man himself is a cunning twist on the stereotype of the consummate British professional. In the world of the book, there seem to be absolutely no outside consequences for any of Mike’s actions; his entire world consists of clubbing, witty retorts, and bodies worth a few grand. The reader is left only viewing Accident Man’s world through his eyes, and it’s a bleak, albeit clever experience. The back-of-the-book quote says it all: “Pat Mills is a punk…” Indeed, calling Mills a punk perfectly describes the content and the delivery; sentences are short, staccato, possessing a driving beat with little in the way of emotional variety – it’s all overconfidence, by the way – which would get old except for the skill with which Mills presents satire.
A variety of artists have contributed to Accident Man over the character’s development. Martin Emond’s work on the first mini-series in particular seems to capture the essence of Accident Man in the most interesting way. Emond works in a very vertical fashion; long, skinny lines that extend limbs, bodies, and faces into angular caricatures of normal bodies. The doe-eyed expressions of surprise contrast ridiculously with the squinty-eyed expressions of violence.
The Complete Accident Man was getting a movie treatment from a small, independent film company called Inappropriate Films. The budget was Kickstarted, but they only raised about $800 of a $34,000 goal. It would have made a solid cult film had it met its funding goals. Fortunately, readers will always have the comic.
The Complete Accident Man
by Pat Mills, Tony Skinner
Art by Martin Emond, Duke Mighten, John Erasmus, Howard Chaykin
Titan Comics, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: Mature