"Nobody disses Natt the Hat's hat" - Natt the Hat
Hitman, the story so far. In a 1993 crossover event called Bloodlines an Irish-American hitman by the name of Tommy Monaghan gets the powers of X-ray visions and telepathy which elevates him to the top of his profession. He lives in a shady part of Gotham City called The Cauldron and hangs out with his mates in a bar called Noonan's when he isn't out capping people. The Hitman comic started proper in 1996 and ran until it's cancellation in 2001. In the first book, Tommy managed to get a powerful conjoined twin mobster called Moe Dubelz mad with him when he killed his other half Joe. This book resolves that dangling plotline and also sees the start of one of the repeated themes of the book, that by refusing to change who he is and what he does, Tommy suffers physically and emotionally and starts to lose everything dear to him. The bonds of brotherhood and loyalty are also a big part of Hitman and this book sees them tested for the first time. It also sees Ennis realise that a telepathic hitman is somewhat overpowered and takes steps to limit how much that power can be used by Tommy.
HITMAN: 10,000 BULLETS - The story begins with Tommy pondering on what happened during the events we are about to see. With Ennis using it as a way of passing judgement this early on, on Tommy and the chaos and death his lifestyle brings AND makes the reader complicit in their enjoyment of such a way of life that Tommy has, brave stuff.
Tommy: "It's all just a laugh, it's all a big adventure full of guns and jokes and crazies, and then my best friend dies and I lose the girl I thought I had a chance with - and if you're really there God, are you trying to tell me something?"
And this could be something he says about the series as a whole. Yeah it's great fun when he and his mates are fighting killer penguins, but the downside is personal loss and tragedy. It's fascinating to find such a meta condemnation this early in the books run.
|Jonny Navarone. What a dick.|
Tommy gets a hit supplied to him by a cop. Seems a costumed "superhero" called Nightfist has been going round killing drug dealers then dealing their supplies himself and he wants him taken out. Tommy agrees. We then see Tommy in bed with Wendy, they have been dating two months and Tommy hasn't told her what he does still. Which is a problem as Wendy admits she's in love with him. Later at Tommy's place he finds another friend of his, Natt the Hat is back in town due to the death of his Mum. Before they can do any catching up they are attacked by a gang of ninjas. Yes, really. They fight them off, and as Tommy blows up the car the ninja's are chasing them in he says to Natt, "welcome home you son of a bitch".
|Tommy and Natt the Hat. If you want swearing, read a Vertigo book!|
Hacken: "That's right chicken! You go an' hide behind Monaghan and good old uncle Sean. You never been worth Jack on your own... you're just a slimy little weasel! An' you know it!."
|Hacken is displeased.|
Wendy is horrified, both by the state Tommy is in and finding out he was telling the truth about being a hitman. As Natt starts bandaging Tommy she tells him she'll call the police, but stops when Natt says that'll result in Tommy's death. She calls Sean instead. Back with Moe Dubelz and Johnny, Johnny reflects that he has the address of Tommy's known associates from the cop who set up Tommy with the Nightfist job, but who in fact was working for Johnny. Later Tommy wakes up at Wendy's badly hurt still, but alive. She is incredibly angry with him.
Wendy: "You brought your evil into my house. You're a murderer, a stone killer... all this time."
Tommy: "I never lied to you".
|An understandably pissed off Wendy.|
Pat: "Nah. I wanted to stand up for myself Tommy. Just for once... wanted to be a tough guy."
Tommy: "Well you were Pat. You were the toughest guy of them all."
We then hear a shot as Tommy puts Pat out of his misery. Natt asks him what he'll do next. Tommy says they'll go to Moe Dublez place and kill everyone there and won't stop until every last one of them is dead. "Cool" responds Natt.
|Pat, horrifically injured and close to death.|
Natt and Tommy split up. Natt gets into a fight with a huge and aggressive chef. He beats him down and when the chef begs for mercy, Natt responds he "ain't heard zip about mercy for the chef." Tommy takes on Moe Dubelz and shoots and shoots and shoots him. Moe still mamages to get his hand around Tommy's throat before Tommy takes him down finally with a headshot.
|Tommy versus Moe.|
Johnny: "Believe me Monaghan: We're better than the rest of these scum."
Tommy: "But we're all scum, Johnny"
Tommy: "We're all scum".
And he executes Johnny. We're back where we started this arc now, with Tommy wallowing in self pity. Natt arrives and tells him to keep his head straight and not get lost in this stuff. Then he and Tommy walk off together in the rain.
|And it is kinda your fault too Tommy...|
Sean recounts that the closest he came to death was when he was serving during the Korean war. His battalion was fighting thousands of Chinese, and when they were all dead, all that was left of Sean's battalion was him and his sarge and they were completely out of bullets. Then they spot more Chinese coming towards them, when Sean panics and asks his sarge what to do, his sarge grimly snaps up his bayonet and gets ready to take them on. Thankfully the air support arrived and took out the attackers, but the sarge didn't make it.
|Sean Noonan survives the Korean war just barely.|
Hacken, missing the point of the stories being about facing death starts telling a story where he killed lots of chickens. Then Ringo Chen has his turn. After performing a hit in Hong Kong he was sipping champagne and enjoying the view when a man came up behind him. Ringo turned and shot him, but the man did not react.
|If it's the DCU's "Death" incarnate, she's lost her looks here!|
Ringo: "I've found the two need not be mutually exclusive."
Ringo believes he met Death that day, and that maybe for the others Death will look different. Finally Tommy tells the story of the first time he faced death. He was a kid in the local orphanage and Pat who was being raised by Sean was his best friend. They were being bullied badly and one day Tommy organised all the local kids into delivering a beatdown on the bully. Later that day, the bully came back, tearfully holding a gun. But Tommy stared him down and he dropped it and ran off crying.
Tommy: "'cause you point a gun at most guys an' it paralyses them. It's like they're hypnotised, starin' down the barrel, thinkin' about what it'll do to 'em. But it ain't the gun that's gonna tell 'em that. It's the guy holdin' it. It's in his eyes."
|Happy childhood memories, aah.|
HITMAN ANNUAL - This issue is the only one not to have John McCrea on art duties in it, split as it is between Carlos Ezquerra and Steve Pugh. It's Ennis's take on a western as Tommy is called down to a remote town called Tiburon in Texas by the Chief of Police there. There is an uneasy peace between his force and the local Mexican mobsters led by a man called Santiago. The latest source of friction is that a land developer has bought up the rights to build on a graveyard, and it is rumoured that in one of the graves is two million dollars left there by a gang who went to lie low in Mexico and never came back.
|A very "Joe Dredd" looking police chief.|
Tommy: "Life in Tiburon is hard enough on people to begin with. Last thing this place needs is me making things worse."
Spitefully, the Chief contacts Santiago to tell him Tommy is leaving and Santiago sends him men to ambush him at the hotel. There is a huge gun battle, but Tommy is captured and beaten up then dragged behind a truck. He regains conciousness with Jorge looking after him. Jorge says he got the note Tommy left and phoned the number, he also gives Tommy back his shades and his fathers gun to defend himself with. Tommy is full of gratitude.
Jorge: "The hell with it. You join the paratroopers, you expect to be pulling marines outta trouble."
|Jorge comes to Tommy's rescue.|
Later the coffin in question is found and the police and Santiago's men confront each other in the main street. Tommy arrives on the scene and so does Natt, who tools Tommy up. Santiago says he has a present for Tommy, which is Jorge, minus an arm, tied to the bonnet of one of his men's cars. A three-way gun battle commences, during which Tommy rescues Jorge. It ends when, during a stand off between Manko and Tommy, Natt sneaks up behind them and blows Manko's head off with a shotgun. Tommy then wounds Santiago and Jorge finishes him off. The Chief meanwhile has opened the coffin to find worthless paper money inside. Tommy ties him up and leaves him in the coffin, and Natt bulldozes the earth back over him. Then the two of them walk off together and so ends Hitman's take on the spaghetti western.
|Tommy and Manko face off in the street in cinematic style.|