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Hidden Gems of Comics: Garth Ennis' HITMAN

Gotham City. Pretty much everyone knows the score: The most corrupt city in the DC universe. A crime boss on every corner. A crazed super villain in every alley. One lone crusader, The Batman, trying to make it a better place. But not every knows that the people of Gotham have another hero, one who also targets the corrupt...

Gotham City. Pretty much everyone knows the score: The most corrupt city in the DC universe. A crime boss on every corner. A crazed super villain in every alley. One lone crusader, The Batman, trying to make it a better place. But not every knows that the people of Gotham have another hero, one who also targets the corrupt. But for a price. Meet Tommy Monaghan, Hitman. Introduced as part of DC's 'Bloodlines' event in 1993, Hitman was created by writer Garth Ennis and artist John McCrea. An ex-Marine turned contract killer, Monaghan was based in the Cauldron, a lower-class Irish district of Gotham City. After gaining X-Ray vision and moderate telepathy from an encounter with an alien, Monaghan uses his new powers to go after the metahuman and supernatural threats more conventional contract killers shy away from. The character was first introduced in The Demon annual #2, and proceeded to guest star in two further arcs, €œHell's Hitman€ and €œSuffer the Children€ of the main series before it's cancellation. After a brief appearance in The Batman Chronicles #4, where Tommy accepts a contract to kill the Joker, Hitman got his own series which ran for 60 issues and 1 annual. In the series, Tommy faces everything from government agents to un-dead sea creatures, dinosaurs to mob bosses. One thing that can be said about the run is that it was fun (the very first issue, Tommy vomits on Batman's boots. That's one hell of a mission statement.) On it's release it didn't sell great, but sold enough that DC didn't cancel it straight off, instead affording Ennis and McCrea the time to finish the series in the way they wanted. Fair enough, but the greatest mis-step DC have made with the series is that of the 61 issues only 28 have being released as trades. I am not saying Hitman is the greatest series of all time and a great injustice is being done, but it is a very good series and Ennis and McCrea's work deserves to be read in it's entirety. It is a series with heart, about a good man given a gift for doing bad things. He understands what he does is wrong, but no one else is willing to step up to do it. Sure, Batman and his extended family do a pretty good job of cleaning up the streets, but they have their eyes on the big picture, the smaller threats that left unchecked can become bigger them by. That's Tommy's bread and butter. Running with a plot point introduced in Batman: The Long Halloween, Tommy initially deals with Gotham's abundance of crime bosses, such as Moe Dubelz, seeking revenge on Tommy for killing his conjoined twin (who is still attached to) and Men's Room Louie, who has an unexplained medical condition that requires him to constantly stay on the toilet. Yes, there are some crazy characters in it (other members of the supporting cast include Baytor, Hell's former Lord of Insanity, and Six-Pack, a drunk who thinks he's a superhero), but that doesn't take away from the series. It lends a character all of it's own. It makes it unique, which is a breath of fresh air in this current climate of reboots and re-imaginings. I will leave on this note: If you happen across an issue or trade of Hitman, pick it up. It mightn't be your cup of tea, but I guarantee it will be an enjoyable read.
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