by Gavin Johnston on February 06, 2018

Writer: Pat Mills; Tony Skinner
Artists: Martin Edmond; Duke Mighten; John Erasmus
Publisher: Titan


Accident Man originally appeared in the short lived anthology comic Toxic, a politically aware publication which sought to challenge the status qua and protect creator’s rights in the early 90s. The brutal story of Mike Fallon, a hitman whose particular modus operandi involves making his murders look like accidents, is now the inspiration for a movie staring Scott Adkins, released digitally and on DVD this week


Pat Mills’ comics are famous for their scathing, anti-authoritarian commentaries, and Accident Man is no different. Main character Mike is a thoroughly unpleasant materialist, whose affinity for murder funds a lavish livestyle. Mike exists as a satire on the excesses of the era - vain and driven only by the need to make money, obsessed with satiating his own desires.


When Mike’s former girlfriend dies at the hands of a fellow professional assassin, The Accident Man is forced to confront the real feelings he buries deep inside. Driven to take revenge, Mike goes against his own shallow code of honour to find the people responsible.


Any ordinary character arc would involve Mike getting in touch with his true feeling and learning to use his powers for good. Accident Man doesn’t do ordinary character arcs. Mike is even more unpleasant and selfish by the end of this tale than at the beginning.


Originally illustrated by Martin Edmond, who provides a lean, angular and overly muscular world filled with efficient violence, the art on Accident Man was later passed to Duke Mighten and John Erasmus (although strangely, none of them are credited as creators on the film). Whilst the cover of The Complete Accident Man might portray its lead as a James Bond-style character, the work found within is anything but. This is a gritty and unpleasant world. Hitmen hang out in beer soaked pubs and do deals in alleys. A successful hit involves hiding in some bushes or drowning an old man in a bath. Even when the action reaches the penthouse suites and high class establishments of the world, it does so with a thick veneer of sleaze and fetishwear.


The political and social satire doesn’t end with Mike. His entire world is an extreme view of a hateful and self-important system. This is a world where women are either bikini wearing models, or militant lesbian vegans; where the rich drive mirrored Ferraris and use the homeless as ashtrays; where heads of industry hold fetishistic orgies and boast of their evil plans to kill endangered species. It’s a world which is held in check for the first few episodes, but by the time we get to the second story, in which Mike seeks to learn ancient martial art secrets, any subtly has gone. The absurdity and excesses of the stories increases as we go along, pushing the idea further with each page, culminating in muscular men in g-strings involved in sweaty, unarmed combat.


An Accident Man movie is an interesting prospect, and writer Pat Mills has spoken previously of the many false starts involved as movie makers and movie marketers struggled with the fact that this is a story without a hero, or even likeable characters.


The Complete Accident Man, which collects together the Toxic stories, is an interesting read, if only as a demonstration of anarchic satire and the power that comics hold to push beyond the boundaries required by other media.  This is a comic of extremes.  


Our Score:


A Look Inside