Comic Fodder

DC Comics...stop being jerks and gimmie more HITMAN! (Part 2)


Yesterday I wrote all about DC Comics’ Hitman series and the proverbial dropping of the ball when it came to releasing the whole series (they stopped releasing trades at issue 28 out of 60). Today I want to talk about some of the things that made Hitman one of my all time favorite superhero books. I want to talk about the good old days, the days of Tommy and Natt “The Hatt” hanging out at Noonan’s bar, drinking beer and bullsh*ting about their time in the Gulf War. This was a superhero comic like none before, there were gun fights, aliens and fisticuffs to be sure but Hitman was more than all that.

Much like the Preacher series, also written by Garth Ennis, Hitman had pathos. Characters would take up pages telling stories from their past, huge monologues that told you about the character without having to spoon-feed information to the audience. You watched Tommy struggle to make sense of his life after loosing a close friend. You cringed when he finally told his girlfriend he was a professional hitman and she walked out on him. You laughed when Batman punched Tommy and he vomited on the Dark Knight’s boots. Garth Ennis brought the reader through every range of emotion and still managed to infuse every issue with his brand of balls-to-the-walls action and bizarre character creations.

I was going to give you a list of my favorite things from the entire Hitman series but I’ve decided, in protest of DC’s refusal to publish the rest of the trades, to only pick my favorite moments from the available trades. The reason for this is two-fold:
a) The single issues can be hard to find and I would hate to talk about something you were able to go out and buy and read and experience for yourself.
b) Maybe these moments will be exciting (or funny or scary or…you get the idea) enough to urge my loyal readers to contact DC and demand they release the series in its entirety.

Without further ado….

Comic Fodder’s TOP TWENTY FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT HITMAN (from issues 1-23):

1. Tommy kills Moe Dubelz conjoined twin, Joe.

The best part is that Moe lives the rest of the series with the slowly decaying corpse of his brother attached to his left side.

2. Tommy uses x-ray vision to see his future girlfriend in her bra and panties…the first time they meet.

I like that Ennis isn’t afraid to show the audience exactly what kind of guy Tommy is, a real one.

3. Tommy vomits on Batman.

I know I’ve mentioned this a lot but, come on, Batman + Vomit = FUNNY.

4. Natt and Tommy take out an army of ninja’s in a few seconds.

There are ninja there, jumping from the roof and then a hail of bullets and then dead ninja’s everywhere.

5. Tommy and Natt find Pat in the bathtub, dead in a pool of blood.

Gut wrenching and unsanitary.

6. The last page of issue #6.

Read the “10,000 Bullets” trade paperback.

7. The Final Night issue.

See number six.

8. The Green Lantern Team-Up.

Green Lantern is lame. Hitman rawks!

9. Zombie Fish.

Is Robert Kirkman in the house?

10. “Coffin Full of Dollars”

Ennis you are my Lord and Master. Show me the way…

11. Tommy and Natt nail a cat to a spotlight to create a “Cat symbol” in hopes of attracting Catwoman’s attention.

Best use of an animal in a comic book that year.

12. Sixpack.

Best. Superhero. Name. Ever.

13. The first (and every) appearance of BAYTOR, Lord of Insanity in Hell.

He’s a giant mouth full of teeth that escaped Hell, loves to drink and can only say, “BAYTOR!”

14. Dog Welder

A man who welds DOGS to his armor…I’m not even kidding.

15. Bueno Excellente


16. The “Who Dares Wins” story arc.

After 22 issues of outlandish, sometimes silly adventures, Ennis plunges Tommy into an ultra violent confrontation with dark enemies whose motivations are honor driven.

17. The S.A.S (Special Air Services)

They are so cool. I mean…I wanted to move to Britain and join he Queens’ army.

18. “It’s time to go ballistic.”

Read the trade “Who Dares Wins”.

19. Tommy and Natt in the Gulf War.

Every flashback Garth Ennis has ever written in this series and others is relevant to the current plot and revealing of a new aspect of a characters personality. He writes flashback’s so well the producers of ABC’s LOST should call hire him before his comic schedule gets too busy working with John Woo.

20. Men’s Room Louie.

It’s the little things that I enjoy the most sometimes.

There you go. Stick that in you collective pipes and smoke it. If those things were unfamiliar to you and you feel lost and alone and stupid…. you should. Go out and buy this comic book. Go. Click over to Amazon or Ebay or whatever place you buy comics or…hell…. even GO OUTSIDE and WALK to a comic book shop. Place your money on the counter; grab the clerk by his shirt and scream in his face, “I WANT HITMAN!”

After the police let you go you’ll be free to read and enjoy. Then, like me, the joy will turn to anger when you find out Tommy is starting to question his job as a hitman and unless you can find all the single issue collected the only way you’ll ever find out what happened is to read the Wiki version.

Honestly it's been too long since I've last read Hitman (too long) that I've forgotten many of my favorite moments, suffice to say there are many. I loved the entire "Home town heroes" arc. I can say this, I've always loved how strong, real, and complex the friendships were in Hitman. Tommy had many friend from many different phases in his life. And each of them brought something to the table which sometimes clashed, conflicted, meshed and overall brought such richness to the story. Sean was Tommy's life long friend. Sean was also a nice guy and didn't get wrapped up in killin biz. He introduced Tommy to movies and they had their long history and bond to sustain their relationship. Nat the Hat was Tommy's war friend. He was deeply involved in the killing biz and became Tommy's partner. The two shared a bond, not of long history, but of the unbreakable nature that two men can only form from going to war together.
Both would follow Tommy to the gates of hell, and would quite literally die for their friend.
Did this automatically make Sean and Nat friends? No. Did it make them jealous rivals? No. It made them two mutual friends of friends. They didn;t know each other that well, but knew of each other through their friend Tommy. We all, if we're lucky, have friends like that. I know the writer of this blog can identify that with our friendship and Ethan, or Shatz. This all just led to me feeling like I "knew" the cast of Hitman. I think Preacher was mainly about love enduring, and friendship eroding. Hitman was the flip side of that. Love eroding (through Tommy's various failed relationship), but above all brotherhood and friendship enduring and lasting til death. The luckiest guy of all would have the best of Tommy and Jesse's relationships: everlasting love and friendship.
Damn, I'm turning into a sap in my old age.

-- Posted by: Drunkin Dave at July 17, 2006 10:59 AM