“My name’s Tommy Monaghan and I kill people for money. It’s a living.”
– Tommy Monaghan, Hitman
After a week of terrorist attacks, CISPA being passed, and an assortment of other unfortunate events; I wanted to revisit my childhood. Since going to Chuck-E-Cheese would most likely put me on a “potential pedophiles” list, I had to relive my nostalgia with a difference piece of early 2000’s pop culture. I chose to re-read my old collection of Hitman comics.
Hitman was a late 90’s comic book series written by Garth Ennis and published by DC. The series followed the super-powered contract killer Tommy Monaghan as he assassinated various criminals, vigilantes, monsters, and shady government agents; all of whom were infesting Gotham City (and yes, he does fight Batman).
What I’d always enjoyed about the series, was it’s dark and absurd humor. Most stories play out like ultra-gory comedies, with jokes flying just as freely as blood and bullets. This is probably best showcased in the third volume’s “Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium” storyline, something so ridiculously outlandish that I couldn’t stop laughing.
While the childhood me loved Hitman‘s the over-the-top action and humor, the adult me noticed that the series actually has some really serious and adult elements. A lot of the stories are actually quite sad. Tommy and his friends, most of whom are also hitmen, have a lot of tragedy in their lives. Two stories in particular stood out for me: one in which each major character reflects on a time that violence shaped their life, and another involving Tommy’s best friend and a mob boss’s plot for revenge.
Overall, I highly recommend the series. The stories are mixture of humor, gore, and sentiment. However, if you are interested in reading this series I suggest skipping the first volume, it’s stories aren’t up to par with the rest of the books. Hitman Vol. 2: Ten Thousand Bullets is a much better entry point into the series.