"No one cancels a contract with me. Once I take a job I always finish it. No matter what."
An assassin who, once he or she is hired for a job and pledges to carry it out, will never stop attempting to kill his target - no matter what happens.
This includes situations where one might ordinarily give up; no matter how many years have passed, how many times the assassin has to go to jail, whether the person who gave them the job has cancelled the contract or has even died (or any other reason why killing the target should be unnecessary) this person will always act as though their mission is still active.
Sometimes It's Personal
- maybe their first defeat was humiliating enough that the assassin goes out of their way to make sure their target finally dies (or it even turns into an outright emnity). Sometimes it's honor - the assassin feels that once one agrees to a job they should always follow through. Sometimes it's what they have to do - if they don't kill the target they could be hunted themselves, so there's no giving up.
These kinds of characters aren't easy to permanently deflect, usually the hero has to fake their own death or try to make a better offer - if they don't ultimately kill the assassin outright.
If they have extended antagonistic appearances, assassins in fiction are generally portrayed this way. These kinds of characters are especially
common with superheroes, as it gives an excuse for what might otherwise be a one-shot but effective antagonist to come back again and again for future issues - an easy way to add a new character to the Rogues Gallery
A subtrope of Implacable Man
- This is one of the motivations behind the Teen Titans' enemy Deathstroke, though there are several personal reasons for this as well - mutual loathing, the occasional master plan that goes beyond hired killing, complex family issues...
- Captain Cold as he appears in the Series/The Flash television series is portrayed this way, and provides the page quote. He even continued to hunt his target after killing his employer for refusing to pay him, simply because he felt honor-bound to do so.
- The Ghost is portrayed this way in Iron Man: Armored Adventures: when he is hired to do something, he never stops until either the job is done or someone gives him a better offer. No matter how many times it takes. The heroes ultimately have to pay him off to get rid of him.
- Combustion Man is shown to be this in Avatar: The Last Airbender, though he falls squarely in the It's Personal camp. After being defeated by the Gaang so many times, he is ultimately so hell-bent on killing them that when Zuko tries to tell him that the job is null and void he tries to kill him as well.