The Complete Accident Man is a high-adrenaline action comic originally written in the early '90s by Pat Mills for the British anthology Toxic! before being picked up by Dark Horse for a several issue run, and now collected by Titan Comics. The era in which Accident Man was written shows. A heavy '80s influence creeps into the first set of issues, most notably in the terrible fashion sense of the characters.
On the surface I was really concerned Fallon was going to be a James Bond copy. He's a British guy who sleeps with every woman he sees, wears expensive suits, drives fast cars, and knows over a hundred ways to kill someone with just his bare hands. Fallon has no illusion, he's no spy, he's a hit man and he kills people for money. Fallon is a shallow character, content to trade lives for money and use everybody he comes across - men and women alike - in whatever fashion he feels like at the time. He's morally reprehensible, and yet I still found myself rooting for him, because the people he's sent after are usually worse. Much, much worse. Even if Fallon doesn't see the justice in their deaths, there's a satisfaction derived from seeing terrible people get what's coming to them.
In spite of Fallon's trademark accidents, the hit man does wind up in a surprisingly high number of fist fights. Because Fallon's not a terribly likeable protagonist, there's not a lot of tension in these fight scenes, yet they're entirely enjoyable, because, at several points in the fight, Fallon and his opponent are going to pull out a cheesy combat technique, start fighting dirty, or otherwise turn the scene into something other than a straight up fist fight. My favorite fight, by far, is when Fallon's opponent is also his target, and he has to arrange their death to look like an accident while trying to keep himself alive and not leave any evidence behind. I'm not sure if even half of Fallon's techniques would actually work, but they're creative and—dare I say this about murder—fun.
It's the supporting cast of Accident Man that provides the tension. Fallon surrounds himself with characters far more eccentric than himself, from his mentor Big Mac, a retired hit man who now runs a bar for hit men, to Hillary, the ecoterroist lesbian Fallon's ex-wife left him for. While a little out there, the other characters display emotions other than anger and lust, and because Fallon doesn't seem to have one of his own, act as Fallon's conscience. Through a character like Hillary, Fallon can be directed towards doing some good. Over time we see Fallon's relationship develop with these characters, and it provides the few truly human moments with Fallon.
It should probably go without saying that Accident Man is intended for adult audiences. While the comic rarely pushes the extent of its images beyond the PG-13 mark, there's an impressive amount of detailed violence and innuendo (and after flipping through again the occasional shot of boobs). Given that it's a collection from over a decade of different takes on the character by four different artists - Martin Emond, Duke Mighten, and John Erusmus - the art varies considerably, but the style of the world of Accident Man remains consistent and the action scenes are always good.
For more information on The Complete Accident Man, visit Titan Comics website.
Five Yodeling Axemen out of Five