Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hitman


(The Hitman series is one of my favorites. The perefct mix of seriousness, and humor. Action and adventure. This is Garth Ennis at his best.)
Background
Hitman chronicles the exploits of Tommy Monaghan, a contract killer from the Cauldron, a lower-class Irish district of Gotham City. He first appeared in The Demon Annual #2 (part of the "Bloodlines" crossover in the summer of 1993), as an ex-Marine Gulf War veteran turned contract killer when he is attacked and bitten by a Bloodlines Parasite. Instead of dying, the bite grants him the unexpected powers of x-ray vision and moderate telepathy. A side-effect is that his corneas and irises are solid black, indistinguishable from his irises; the sight managed to unnerve Batman when he first saw them. The inherited powers later come with limits however, and Monaghan utilizes them selectively, both because of the difficulty of concentrating during an explosive firefight (many of which he is a part of) and the unwanted side-effects of their extended use (which includes anything between a headache and a minor illness). (The "protagonist with supernatural abilities he doesn't use" is a theme the writer Garth Ennis also used in the series Preacher, published largely concurrently with Hitman.)
Shortly afterwards Monaghan decides to specialize in killing metahumans and supernatural threats, targets typically shunned by conventional contract killers as too dangerous or too expensive to pay for. Despite his powers, Monaghan relies most on his creativity, improvisation, and impressive gunfighting skills to take down a majority of his targets. This line of work gives him an edge over his competition but also leads him to encountering a number of eclectic characters which include demons, zombies, dinosaurs, gods, superheroes and supervillains as well as more conventional, realistic characters such as CIA agents, the SAS, the Mafia and Batman. Even at its most ridiculous, the characters are realistically portrayed, if not necessarily sympathetic.
Despite its bizarre and often iconoclastic nature, the series is firmly entrenched in the DC Universe. Batman, The Joker, Green Lantern, Catwoman, Etrigan, and Superman all guest star at various points, and joking references are frequently made to then-current DC happenings (such as the long-haired Superman). It also crossed over with many DC events, including Final Night, One Million, and No Man's Land. There was even a oneshot pairing him with Lobo, and he has made a few appearances outside of the series (see below).
Although the character adopts the moniker "Hitman" in his first appearance, he only refers to himself by that name once in his own series, in the very first issue; the rest of the time, he is referred to by his given name (although he was sometimes called "Hitman" in guest appearances).

Characters
Heroes
Tommy Monaghan is a hitman from "The Cauldron", the Irish section of Gotham City. He received the powers of telepathy and X-ray vision after being bitten by an alien (see Bloodlines), something which he generally tries to keep secret. With or without the powers, he is as good as any hitman in Gotham. He was raised in Saint Killian's orphanage by Sister Concepta, spending much of his childhood with Pat Noonan and Pat's uncle, Sean. He first saw a gun when a bully pulled one on him after a fight. He always wears sunglasses to hide his all-black eyes (another side effect of Bloodlines).
Natt "the Hatt" Walls is Tommy's partner. Growing up in Detroit, he joined the Marines to get away from the gangs. There he met and befriended Tommy. They went to the Gulf War together, and inadvertently killed some British SAS soldiers one night in a "friendly fire" incident they never reported. After the war, he tried to return to his gang, but a policeman saved his life and the gang suspected treachery. Natt fled, settling in to Gotham with Tommy. Natt promised his dying mother that he would curse no more, and so uses the word "mothaloving" in place of swearing.
Sean Noonan is Tommy's father-figure. He raised his nephew Pat, Tommy's best friend since youth. He was at one time a hitman of some reputation in the city. When he was seven, Sean fled an abusive father, but, inspired by the courage of a British soldier, he went back to save his mother. Years later, he joined the Marines and fought in Korea, where he saw every man in his platoon die. He came to Gotham, got a job tending bar, and eventually won the bar in a poker game. "Noonan's Sleazy Bar" became the resident hang out for local hitmen. Around that time, he saved a young police officer named Connolly from two robbers. In such ways, he collected many favors over the years.
Ringo Chen is the other best hitman in town and even more cold-blooded than Tommy (though nobody is sure who is deadlier). There is always tension between the two, as everybody expects they will square off one day. Despite this, he and Tommy get to be close. They even understand that others wonder who would win if they fought. Ringo grew up in an extremely poor village in China; in order to escape, he joined the People's Liberation Army. When he refused to shoot protestors in Tiananmen Square, he was thrown in jail and tortured. He escaped and fled to New York, where he became a hitman, initially for his cousin, but later going free-lance. Ringo believes that he met Death once, after a hit.
Deborah Tiegel is Tommy's love interest for most of the series. She gets kicked off the Gotham Police Department by a corrupt captain, because she is above corruption. She lives with her grandfather and her mother. She is always referred to as the only truly good person in Tommy's life, and often breaks up with him because he kills people for a living. She is an exceptional marksman, and often provides sniper cover for the heroes amid large firefights.
Notable Side Characters
Pat Noonan is Sean's nephew, and Tommy's best friend since childhood. The first time Tommy killed somebody was to save Pat's life. When the series begins, he is Tommy's weapon supplier. He makes fun of Hacken more than anybody else does, and the bar patrons (especially Hacken) regard him as a loudmouth. When Natt arrives, Pat grows more insecure about his friendship with Tommy.
Hacken hangs out at Noonan's as much as anybody (including Sean) and joins in with the killer talk, but does not seem to be a professional; they mostly just make fun of him. When there is big trouble, they don't want him around, because they don't want to feel responsible for his death. At one point, he refers to himself and Ringo as partners, "just like Tommy and Natt", and Ringo doesn't have the heart to dissuade him. Hacken once cut off his own hand when he thought it would save his life. His artificial hand has caused more than one continuity error in subsequent issues. In issue #50, Hacken is shown to have outlived all the original gang and still drinks at Noonan's Sleazy Bar as an old man.
Sixpack is a short drunk who thinks he is a superhero. He often has drunken delusions of team-ups with Batman and other heroes. He occasionally leads his superhero team, Section 8.
Sister Concepta is a nun who works at Saint Killian's. She took a special interest in Tommy growing up, partly because she had a romantic relationship with Sean Noonan.
Wendy is the first woman Tommy dates in the series. She believes descriptions of his life are humorous jokes, and she dumps him as soon as she finds out they are not. She returns to the series sporadically.
Baytor is the Lord of Insanity in Hell, until Etrigan steals his crown. He escapes Hell, and becomes the bartender at Noonan's. With rare exceptions, he says only "I am Baytor!". He has the abillity to project a liquid onto enemies, which dries. They then shatter.
Maggie Lorenzo is a poor local woman who first meets Tommy when her son goes missing. Eventually, she turns to Tommy whenever she has a problem, and she apparently has quite a few.
Kathryn McAllister is Tommy's last love interest in the series. A CIA agent modelled after Dana Scully from the X-Files TV series, she first shows up in a one-page gag in "Local Heroes" (in which she manipulates Green Lantern, as ordered by Agent Truman). In Closing Time, the final arc of the series, McAllister has left Truman's employ and enlists Tommy and Natt to take Truman down. It is strongly implied in the "Up is Down and Black is White" storyarc of the MAX imprint of Punisher she continues to work in clandestine circles under the name "O'Brien."
Villains
Moe Dubelz is one half of a pair of conjoined twins who share an entire body. His brother Joe is killed by Tommy, and he swears revenge for it. The brothers control one of Gotham's major mobs.
The Mawzir is a demon from Hell who attempts to enlist Tommy's services for its masters, the Lords of the Gun (also called the Arakonne). The Mawzir is actually formed from the souls of five dead Nazis who were executed by the Russians towards the end of the Second World War.
Johnny Navarone is the best assassin in the world; he travels the world killing only the best local killers. Moe Dubelz hires him to kill Tommy. Later, his son, who is an even better marksman, is hired by Truman to kill Tommy.
Agent Truman is a CIA agent who is jealous of superhumans. He attempts to hire Tommy as an agent to rein in and possibly kill heroes, and later funds experiments trying to re-create the effects of Bloodlines.
Doctor Jackson from the Injun Peak Facility always hires Tommy and Natt to clean up his messes when various experiments his scientists are performing escape into Gotham City. Though his intentions are probably good, his scientists seem quite inept, and eventually Tommy and Natt come to regard him as quite a nuisance.
"Men's Room Louie" Feretti is one of the main mob bosses in Gotham. He is so named because, due to a medical condition, he always needs to be on a toilet, and conducts all his business from there. Eventually, Tommy is falsely blamed for his death, and various other Ferettis try to take revenge.

The Series
Hitman was first published as a 60-issue comic book series with one annual, one "DC One Million" tie-in issue and one crossover with Lobo. Issues were more or less published monthly and most were 22 pages.
Since the end of the monthly series, Hitman was collected in a series of now out of print trade paperbacks which do not as yet encompass the entire series (though several early appearances are included in the first). The trade paperbacks are rumored to be coming back in print (possibly even completing the run), depending on sales of the JLA/Hitman story.
The character was due to make an appearance in an arc of JLA Classified, and Ennis had this to say about it: [1]
I miss Hitman a lot. Preacher finished when it was supposed to, so there are no regrets with it—but Hitman could have gone on a lot longer. John McCrea and I are actually doing four issues of JLA Classified, featuring what is effectively the "lost" Hitman story, the one that we never had space for in the monthly. Writing Tommy and the boys again was sheer joy."
Due to a backlog of other stories for the series, the "lost" Hitman story has been announced instead as a three-part mini-series entitled JLA/Hitman.

Trades
Vol. 1: Hitman(collects The Demon Annual #2, Batman Chronicles #4, and Hitman #1–3)
In "Hitman" (The Demon Annual #2), a hitman named Tommy Monaghan is bitten by Glonth, an alien (see: Bloodlines), and gets superhuman powers. He teams up with Etrigan to fight Glonth and kills Joe Dubelz, a mob boss whose brother Moe puts a price on Tommy's head. The issue also introduces Pat, Sean, and Noonan's Sleazy Bar.
In "Hitman" (Batman Chronicles #4), Tommy takes a hit on a walking biological agent named Thrax who escaped into Gotham, and a "tenth-rate assassin" named Martin Eckstein attempts to earn the Dubelz reward. Eckstein, captured by Batman, reveals that Tommy is going to kill the Joker in Arkham Asylum.
In "A Rage in Arkham" (issues #1-3), Tommy begins a relationship with a woman named Wendy, and hides the fact that he is a killer. The hit on the Joker turns out to be a ruse by demons called The Lords of the Gun and their agent, the Mawzir. They want Tommy to work for them, but he refuses, and Batman intervenes, along with Deborah Tiegel, the only police officer with the courage to go into Arkham to save the Joker.
Vol. 2: 10,000 Bullets(collects Hitman #4–8)
"10,000 Bullets" (#4-7) begins with Moe Dubelz hiring Johnny Navarone to kill Tommy. Navarone hires Tommy (and Natt, newly arrived in Gotham) for a hit and then injures them in an ambush. Tommy makes Natt take him to Wendy's and calls Sean to perform medical services. As soon as Tommy is healthy, she throws them out and dumps him. They go home to find Pat dying, tortured by Navarone for information. Tommy and Natt assault Dubelz directly, killing him and his mob. Navarone gets the drop on them, but Tommy gets a lucky shot off, destroying Navarone's hand. He kills him for Pat.
In "The Night the Lights Went Out" (#8), a crossover with The Final Night, Tommy, Natt, Sean, Hacken and Ringo sit in Noonan's and recount stories of the closest each has come to death. Ringo specifically tells about the time (he believes) he met Death.
Vol. 3: Local Heroes(collects issues #9–14 + Annual #1)
"Local Heroes" (#9-12) opens with Pat Noonan's funeral. Tiegel is kicked off the police force because she is an honest cop, unlike the corrupt Captain Burns. CIA agent Truman offers Tommy a career in the organization as a killer of metahumans, both heroes and villains. Tommy declines his immoral offer, so Truman makes Burns send the police to arrest him. Not wanting to kill a cop, he takes a hostage and winds up being saved by Tiegel, who wants to expose Burns. Truman's operative Kathryn McAllister tells Green Lantern that Tommy is planning to kill him. Convincing Green Lantern he's been tricked, Tommy wears a wire to record Truman's plans and blackmail him out of Gotham. Truman leaves, for now, and internal affairs investigates Captain Burns' precinct.
In "Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium" (#13-14), Tommy, Natt, Ringo and Hacken take a contract from Injun Peak to stop a scientist from re-animating dead sea creatures.
In "Coffin Full of Dollars" (Annual #1), Tommy and Natt become involved in a power struggle in a small Texan town between Sheriff Halliday and a land developer named Santiago, who has a gunman named Manko, inhumanly fast due to an incident during the Gulf War. The struggle comes to a head when a legendary coffin full of stolen money is found in the local cemetery. The story heavily references the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone. The art for the annual was provided by Carlos Ezquerra and Steve Pugh.
Vol. 4: Ace of Killers(collects Hitman #15–22)
In "Ace of Killers" (#15-20), the Mawzir (from the first book) returns from his hiatus in Hell reborn and determined to drag Monaghan back to hell. While in disguise he tricks Catwoman into stealing the Ace of Winchesters, a Winchester rifle forged in the old West to kill demons. Tommy and Natt form an impromptu alliance with Catwoman (spurned over being manipulated) a surprised Tiegel (who arrives at Noonan's to speak with Monaghan moments before Mawzir makes a reappearance) and Jason Blood, the occultist expert and keeper of Etrigan. Etrigan is sent to retrieve the firearm from the Arkonne, the Lords of the Gun in Hell, while the group holes up in a church besieged by the Mawzir and his gangster minions. As the fight progresses and ammunition runs low, Sixpack reassembles Section 8 and counter-attacks just as Etrigan retrieves the powerful Crown of Thorns and murders the Arkonne, retrieving the Ace of Winchesters. Etrigan returns the gun to Earth and bargains the return of his heart. Tommy makes the trade and kills the Mawzir with the Ace of Winchester. At the end of the night, Etrigan is made whole, Tommy strikes up a new friendship with Catwoman, and Tiegel tells Tommy to call her.
Note: The Ace of Winchesters was previously featured during Garth Ennis's run on Hellblazer. Jason Blood stole Etrigan's heart, with the help of Tommy, in The Demon #54, written by Ennis.
In "Kiss Me" (#21) Tiegel invites Tommy over for a romantic dinner, and they end up sleeping together for the first time. The afterglow is marred when her family arrives home unexpectedly. Trying to slip away, Tommy winds up in the apartment next door, amid a big drug deal involving Lefty Lugano. Everybody in the room thinks that somebody else betrayed them and hired Tommy, which leads to a firefight which only Tommy survives. Tiegel, oblivious to the gunfight, asks Tommy out on another date. This issue is the only issue of the series proper not illustrated by John McCrea; he needed a break, and the art was done by Steve Pugh.
In "The Santa Contract" (#22), the Christmas story, a power plant worker named Bob is mutated into a monster whose touch melts flesh. He opts to be a supervillain and steals a Santa Claus costume. The plant's owner hires Tommy and Natt, who find Bob at a mall. He promises to learn to love Christmas, but they waste him anyway.
Vol. 5: Who Dares Wins(collects Hitman #23–28)
"Who Dares Wins" (#23-27) involves a squad of British SAS soldiers (Captain Page, Sergeant Eddie Baker, Plug, and Whitey) assigned to kill Tommy and Natt over the Gulf Storm "friendly fire" incident. Eddie dislikes the assignment for many reasons, which only grow stronger over the arc. Meanwhile, mob boss "Men's Room Louie" Feretti is angry because he thinks Tommy killed his right-hand man, Lefty Lugano (in "Kiss Me"). The SAS men and Louie's men attack at the same moment, and Tommy and Natt escape in the confusion. When next the three sides meet, the SAS men again kill the Mafioso easily, but in a struggle with Tommy, Whitey is killed by his own gun. Tommy and Natt get away, and when Page finds Whitey, he assumes that Louie's men killed him. He plans a huge hit on Louie's criminal operations, over Eddie's objections. Tommy and Natt race to Louie's hideout, where they find Page killing Louie, and Plug being killed. Eddie wipes out the Mafia men, and saves Tommy & Natt from Page before dying himself.
In the epilogue, "Door into the Dark" (#28), Tommy and Natt find out there's a big contract on their heads because of the death of Men's Room Louie, and Tommy mentions his desire to leave Gotham and do something good. Tommy and Tiegel have another fight over his job.

Uncollected issues
Hitman/Lobo: That Stupid Bastich(published around issue 53, but this is where it seems to fit chronologically)
In this one-shot crossover, Lobo comes to Noonan's one night, and Tommy thinks he's a jerk. Since he's has been dumped again by Tiegel, Tommy decides to take his frustration out on Lobo, and shoots his eyes out. He leads an angry Lobo all over town, getting sidetracked by a bunch of mobsters looking to avenge Men's Room Louie, before catching up with Sixpack and Section 8 at a construction site. Tommy knocks Lobo unconscious with a wrecking ball, and Sixpack videotapes the "marriage" of Lobo to Bueno Excelenté. A humiliated Lobo agrees to leave Gotham and not return.
Tommy's Heroes(issues #29–33)
Looking to get away from the Men's Room Louie heat, Tommy and Natt (along with Ringo and Hacken) take a job offer in Africa. They are to train an army filled with forcibly-enlisted unskilled men to fight the rebels, who are selling heroin to fund their insurgency. Tommy befriends a British Airborne soldier named Bob Mitchell who was friends with Eddie Baker (from "Who Dares Wins"). They soon realize that President Kijaro and his super-human bodyguards, Scarlett Rose and the Skull, are evil and try to escape the country. They meet the rebels, and Tommy is convinced to help install their leader, Christian Ributu, in Kijaro's place as long as he stops dealing heroin. The gang takes a Tiger tank (just like in Kelly's Heroes) straight into the presidential compound, and do what they do best.
One Million crossover
Hitman #1,000,000 was published as part of DC's One Million crossover, and basically parodies and mocks the idea. Tommy is transported to the 853rd Century by some punks who believe that he was a hero, and he corrects their mistaken belief quite violently. Interesting notes about the future: People no longer vomit due to stomach implants which transport the puke out of the body, and humans have bred cats to be unkillable. Though this does not stop Tommy from trying.
Superman
In "Of Thee I Sing" (issue #34), a starstruck Tommy meets Superman on a Gotham rooftop. Superman has just rescued a group of astronauts but was unable to save the final man. Everyone believes Superman will save them if need be, and he struggles under the burden of representing the power of The United States of America. Tommy tells him that the America that he represents is about the opportunity for people from all over the world to cast aside old baggage and join in the melting pot. Cheered up by the pep talk, Superman thanks Tommy and signs an autograph before flying back to Metropolis, oblivious to the fact that Tommy is actually on the roof to assassinate a local criminal.
Around this time, Ennis wrote "How To Be A Super-Hero!" in Superman 80-Page Giant #1. Sixpack dreams that he is patrolling Metropolis, and Superman asks to tag along. Superman lectures him about the need for proof, the downside to burning prisons, and not stabbing muggers with broken bottles.
Katie / Father's Day(issues #35–36)
Tommy's half-sister Frances comes to Gotham and explains his family history. Tommy's mother Kathryn "Katie" Monaghan was an Irish whore, who had the habit of naming her illegitimate children after the townsman who fathered them. Tom Dawson, a sadist, impregnated her and then burned her house down, so she fled to America, where her cousin worked at Saint Killian's. Unfortunately, Tom followed her, and tortured her to death shortly after she gave birth. Frances takes Tommy to Ireland, where they are captured by Dawson. He tortures Frances in the same way he tortured her mother. Tommy escapes and finds her, still alive, realizing that this is how Katie had been left as well. Tommy, as angry as he ever is in the series, kills his father.
Dead Man's Land(issues #37–38)
Natt tracks down Tommy, who has been stewing bitterly alone for three weeks and takes him to Noonan's. Sean introduces them to Maggie Lorenzo, whose son, Michael, is missing. They find the boy, killed by a vampire. Tommy and Natt find the "King of Vampires" in a church, and are gradually surrounded. Back-up arrives with a bulldozer to knock over the church and expose all the vampires to the sun.
This is a crossover with the Batman arc No Man's Land. In a very self-aware moment amid the story, the characters discuss many of the then-recent huge crossovers and acknowledge how bizarre the events always are, and how they didn't notice the earthquake in Gotham (which happened during "Who Dares Wins") until now.
For Tomorrow(issues 39–42, epilogue in #43)
In "For Tomorrow", Tommy tells Tiegel he loves her, and she asks if he loves her enough to quit being a hitman, theoretically. Ringo has been seeing Wendy (from the first two arcs), but she realizes he is a hitman and dumps him. He also tells his life story, including the first man he ever killed, a Chinese captain who tortured him in a prison cell and beheaded his parents. While escaping, Ringo rigged the body of a soldier with a grenade and left it in the captain's office. When the captain turned the body over, the grenade exploded.
Ringo goes to collect for killing a kid, but instead finds a short Chinese man called "The Waterman", a torturer with electrical powers. He was sent by the boy's father, Sir Richard Harcourt, who wants revenge on everybody involved in the hit. Ringo escapes, but the Waterman follows him and captures him and Tommy. They escape and shoot a whole bunch of thugs. The Waterman's men shoot Ringo and leave him for dead. Tommy rigs Ringo's body, and when the Waterman turns him over, a grenade blows all the bad guys up. Ringo leaves with Death (from "The Night the Lights Went Out"). Two weeks later, Tommy kills Harcourt on a golf course in Hong Kong. In the epilogue, Tommy wakes up with Wendy, whom he bedded in a moment of mutual drunken weakness after mourning Ringo. Tommy visits Tiegel, but she spots a hickey on his neck and slaps him senseless.
The title refers to Ringo's speech about how all hitmen lie to themselves and say they live "for tomorrow", the time they can quit and be a normal human being again. It was probably conceived in reference to A Better Tomorrow. The arc was dedicated to John Woo and Chow Yun-fat.
Fresh Meat(issues 44–46)
Collecting a paycheck at Injun Peak, Natt asks to use the bathroom. He opens the wrong door and ends up, along with Tommy, encountering a time-traveling hunting party that travels back to the time of the dinosaurs. A tyrannosaurus rex called Scarback leads a pack of dinosaurs through the return portal. They attack Gotham, particularly the Cauldron, eating many people and almost destroying Noonan's. Noonan himself slays one, eliminating a local food problem (as this has happened during 'No Man's Land'). Tommy is stalked by Butcher, a determined hunter who blames Tommy for the fact that dinosaurs keep eating pieces of him.
The Old Dog(issues 47–49, epilogue in #50)
Men's Room Louie's granddaughter Isabella celebrates her wedding, and her uncle Benito Gallo (a knife-wielding Mafia hitman) offers to kill Tommy. Benito stabs Tommy in the back while he's trying to apologize to Tiegel. Sean patches him up, and Tiegel and Tommy have a conversation whereby he realizes Sean is his true father, if not biologically. Sean takes Benito hostage and calls in a favor from a man named Connolly while Tommy and Tiegel go to the hospital. Tommy comes back to find Sean dead with a knife in his gut, and is unable to cry because of his bizarre eyes. Benito, escaping, was shot through the head by the dying Sean. The epilogue happens fifty years later; four friends are sightseeing through Noonan's, because of a book based (loosely) on Tommy's exploits. They meet an aged Hacken, who tells them that Tommy killed everybody at the church during Isabella's marriage (not children, possibly not wives).
The title is the inscription that Sean has requested on his tombstone. In the end, Tommy instead puts "Beloved Father".
Super-Guy(issues 51–52)
Sixpack saves Gotham from demons called "The Multi-Angled Ones" after a scientist at Injun Peak sells his soul. The story provides closure for Sixpack and the rest of Section 8, many of whom do not survive. Doctor Jackson, as a karmic punishment for repeatedly loosing experiments onto Gotham, meets his ultimate fate courtesy of Bueno Excelenté.
Closing Time(issues 53–60)
In Closing Time, the final story, the Mafia put a two million dollar contract on Tommy's head after the wedding massacre, and many would-be assassins try to collect. Tiegel's grandfather dies, and Tommy tells her they can't see each other any more, because he's bad for her. He gives her all the money he's saved, and she goes to New York. CIA agents in the employ of Truman (from "Local Heroes") want to kill Maggie Lorenzo (from "Dead Man's Land") because she saw an escaped subject of his experiment to duplicate the effects of the Bloodlines incident. Maggie seeks out Tommy, and finds him at the bar. Kathryn McAllister (from "Local Heroes") arrives, saying that she's left Truman's employ over his growing paranoia regarding superhumans. She contacts her friends at the FBI who want to take Truman down, but they offer only a helicopter with very little support.
Truman hires Marc Navarone, the son of Johnny Navarone (from "10,000 Bullets"), to kill Tommy, whom he regards as a loose end. An aging policeman named Connolly (mentioned in "The Old Dog") hears about the CIA plots, and kidnaps Tommy to protect him as a posthumous favor to Sean. After a few flashbacks, Natt and McAllister find Connolly's apartment and free Tommy without killing Connolly. Tommy, Natt, and McCallister shoot up Truman's place, slaying many, many government employees in the process. They're so overwhelmed by the horrors of Truman's experiments that Marc gets the drop on Tommy, but, having never killed anyone outside of practice, he accidentally leaves the gun's safety on. Tommy snatches the gun and shoots him.
Truman escapes and gathers his remaining 200 men. McAllister picks up the helicopter and heads to Noonan's, where Tommy and Natt share one last beer. They walk outside, and Truman's men open fire. Tommy loses multiple fingers due to a well placed bullet. Connolly is forced to watch, but has been forbidden to interfere by the Gotham PD brass. Natt is shot in the chest and falls during the run for the helicopter. He pleads with Tommy to not to leave him alive to be experimented on. McAllister tries to get Tommy to stay on the helicopter, but he runs back to defend his friend. A line of defensive fire from Tommy catches Truman straight in the forehead, killing him. Truman's men shoot Tommy down. The series ends with Natt and Tommy seemingly fantasizing about a version of Noonan's where guns are not allowed and all their old friends are alive. Or possibly, this is what they encounter in the afterlife, it was not defined.

Other appearances
Prior to his own series, Hitman was introduced during Garth Ennis's run on The Demon. After the aforementioned appearance in Annual #2, he appeared in two later arcs:
"Hell's Hitman" (#42-45) - Etrigan, newly appointed as "Hell's Hitman", is at war with the Lord Asteroth, Archfiend of Hell, over the fate of Gotham. After being overwhelmed by his Choirboy Commandoes, Etrigan hires Tommy to take out Asteroth in issue 43. Tommy telepathically learns that Asteroth is sacrificing people to bring about Hell on Earth. He shoots the Choirboy Commandoes and Asteroth's other men, but flees rather than kill police officers. Etrigan deals with the supernatural menaces, but decides not to pay Tommy for his services. (This also featured the first appearance of Baytor.)
"Suffer the Children" (#52-54) - After Jason's Blood's daughter is born, he decides to destroy Etrigan. He hires Tommy to help him, specifically guarding him against Merlin the Magician (Etrigan's brother). Tommy only agrees because Blood promises him two million dollars. Etrigan escapes and kidnaps the baby, and, when Merlin aids him, Tommy shoots the magician. Jason saves the baby, and Tommy defends him while he steals Etrigan's heart, essentially neutering the demon and binding him to Jason's will. Tommy pinches Etrigan's cheeks, knowing Blood will not allow the demon to hurt him.
He also made an appearance in Batman Chronicles #4, building to the release of the series. The Annual and the Batman issue are included in the first trade paperback.
During Grant Morrison's run on JLA, Tommy was briefly considered for membership. The only reason he shows up is to check out Wonder Woman with his X-ray vision, after which he turns down their offer due to low pay. He has also appeared in titles like Sovereign Seven and Resurrection Man, none written by Garth Ennis.

Awards
Dogwelder (from the team Section 8) was voted "Best New Character" of 1997 by the readers of Wizard.
Hitman issue 34, the Superman-starring "Of Thee I Sing", won the 1999 Eisner Award for best single issue, presented to Ennis and McCrea.
"For Tomorrow", in issues 39–42, was a top votegetter for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Story for 2000.
The 1,000,000 issue was a part of the DC One Million storyline, which was a top votegetter for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Story for 1999.





1 comment:

Ronin said...

What Bungee you got no love for Hitman? I'm surprised.