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Comic Book / Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman

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The Birth of the Hitman...and Diana.

Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman is a prequel comic book miniseries for the hit stealth video game franchise; Hitman, a series of third-person stealth action games by Danish developer IO Interactive. The comic book series was released on November 1st, 2017, published by Dynamite Comics, and focuses on the young 47, fellow clone 6, and his soon-to-be handler, Diana Burnwood, and their separate exploits before they joined the ICA; the International Contracts Association.

The comic book series wrapped up on June 20th, 2018, a few months before Hitman 2 came out, in which this comics' events are acknowledged and referenced several times, and it clarifies some of the events only alluded to by characters in Hitman (2016). This comic would be further referenced in Hitman 3 at least once in every level. As such, this comic series is the backbone for the story of what IO Interactive dubs the World of Assassination Trilogy, meaning this comic does have some Continuity Lockout involved.

An Omnibus edition that compiles all six issues into one book was released at the end of the run (and can be read for free if you have a Amazon Prime membership!), which fixed a few errors, as well as making a few color palette changes.

Character Tropes should go on this character page.

Despite the similar names, do not confuse it with the similarly titled Hitman (1993).

Warning: This comic book contains a MASSIVE Hitman 2 spoiler right at the start that makes talking about this comic series incredibly difficult without ruining the storyline of that game. The spoiler in question is unmarked here, so read on at your own risk!. Marked spoilers for Hitman 3 are also abound.

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No-one's Untropeable:

    A - F 
  • Action Girl: Diana, despite being 14-years old for a good half of the comics' issues, can fight surprisingly well on her own against low level thugs. So long as she isn't completely outmatched, Diana can hold her own.
  • All There in the Manual: The purpose of the comic series is to shed light on what Diana, 47 and Subject 6 were doing before they ever met with each other.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The comic take place in the late 80s to early 90s for the most part, yet car models from the 2000s can be seen throughout.
    • The London skyline in Issue 3 features the London Eye in 1989, which wouldn't be built for another decade.
  • Animal Lover: Believe it or not, 47 is one. Given the choice between murdering an innocent rabbit for no reason other than to prove his strength, or keeping it as a pet, he chooses to keep it. It's noted by Subject 6 that he keeps releasing new rabbits into the estate of The Institute, and even after his mind wipe in Issue 4, he still has a fondness for rabbits, and coos at one in a window. This is also something that is consistent with Ort-Meyers' notes you can find in Codename 47.
  • Arc Words: "No one's Untouchable". This is echoed by Diana and her family, and is used quite a lot in Diana's narration. It's also the title of the very related cinematic shown in Hitman 2 (where the phrase is also repeated), and is the name of the level in the Carpathian Mountains in Hitman 3. The phrase is also used by The Constant at the end of Hitman (2016) to get the ICA to join Providence.
  • Beneath Notice: 47 does this in Issue 1 and disguises as a soldier to get past the army and use their Jeeps.
  • Been There, Shaped History:
    • 47 and 6 go after a spokesman in Berlin, whom they convince to tear down the Berlin Wall by strapping some C4 to his chest to make sure he complies with them. They do this to go after someone to take out their behaviour implants.
    • As part of a contract with The Institute, they're indirectly responsible for the exile of Alfredo Stroessner from Paraguay, as the La Noche de la Candelaria coup d'état was well under way, and that gave 6 and 47 cover to take out their targets (a pair of nazi doctors working for Alfredo in secret).
  • The Casanova: Tor Halversom is implied to be one, being shown with a girl on his right arm.
  • Bookends: Issue 1 starts with the same opening monologue, and ends with a modified version of that same monologue.
  • Brick Joke: The rabbit (or one of its siblings) 47 receives from 6 is still on the grounds in 1998, where he goes to feed it and where Ort-Meyer sedates him to hand over to the Partners.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: 47 and 6 setting up the car bomb to kill Diana's parents; Nancy and Peter Burnwood, is just another job for them they completed under their time at The Institute. However, for Diana, it's perhaps the most important day of her life; giving her drive to start her Roaring Rampage of Revenge of taking down Blue Seed Pharma that eventually leads her into finding Erich Soders and joining the ICA.
  • Call-Forward: A lot of the story beats and references in "World of Assassination Trilogy" are actually direct references to events shown or discussed in this comic series:
    • To Hitman (2016):
      • Penelope Graves first mentions Blue Seed in Colorado when on a phonecall. This is the company that's responsible for killing Diana's brother; James Burnwood, when water leaked into the local water supply, and also giving cancer to several other people. Diana's parents filed a lawsuit against them, but Blue Seed decided to put out a contract with The Institute that leads to 47 and 6 to kill Diana's parents with a car bomb. This was later revealed in Hitman 2 in the final Isle of Sgàil cutscene to the audience. After Diana's parents' untimely death, Diana tries to go after Blue Seed, which sets in motion these comic events.
      • A pair of mercenaries in Colorado will speculate that "The Boss" (Grey) was a part of Providence, which explains theirt deep hatred for them. Not only are they correct, but their analysis of Greys' motivations is almost bang-on; Grey does hate Providence because of their influence over the world, and they made him.
      • The final Colorado cutscene has the Shadow Client talk about "the village incident" with Olivia, going into detail about his capture, and alludes to being a clone. This is the "Minnulescu" incident Ort-Meyer mentions here in Issue 1, and confirms that Subject 6 and The Shadow Client are the same person.
      • The interactive cutscene in Colorado has the Shadow Client's String Theory wall show a bunch of prior targets, and Diana claims they were all branded as unsolved or accidents. This is 47's M.O he learns from 6 when the latter talks about Poetic Justice while killing Tor Halversom. So not only is 47 entirely correct in his assertion that the only people who could see that pattern is someone who knows how he operates, it's someone who, as seen in the comic and as players later find out in Hitman 2, 47 himself used to know; The Shadow Client, A.K.A; Subject 6.
      • The Constant that briefly captures 47 in issues 5 and 6 is the same one introduced in 2016.
    • To Hitman 2:
      • One of the Hawkes Bay mercenaries mentions "a lady from Blue Seed Pharmaceuticals" as one of the hits they performed for The Shadow Client. This may be in reference to Cheryl Franklin, one of the heads of Blue Seed revealed in Issue 5 of the comic, but there's no further confirmation of this.
      • Miami's Global Innovation Race is also sponsored by Blue Seed, with them even having a racing team right at the main gate. Their logo in the game is also a water droplet, strengthening this connection.
      • The "Homecoming" cutscene mentions the Institute being burned down in 1989, which is precisely what happens at the end of Issue 1. The cutscene itself is all about The Shadow Client revealing who he really is; Subject 6, and getting him to remember his pact to tear down The Institute and Providence.
      • Ort-Meyer shown here has his design pretty consistent with his appearance in the first Hitman game, as well as with their flashback appearance in 2, and he's gotten more detailed, adding more wrinkles to his face, among other things. His colors of his clothes were swapped in the comics' first release, but were fixed to be game accurate in the compilation.
      • Grey talks to Diana and 47 in the "Gifts and Curses" cutscene about how they had a formation of a brotherly-like alliance, how they planned to take down The Institute and how they failed. They also mention how The Partners grew paranoid, and forced Ort-Meyer to wipe the clones' memories (or rather, re-arrange them to be disconnected events). The point of the cutscene is for 47 to remember who The Constant was after the Minnulescu Incident; Janus, and go after him.
      • The Constant that orders the mind-wipe of the clones and 47 in issues 3 is Janus, who would become a target in Hitman 2's Another Life mission, and will reminisce about his time as Constant should you disguise as his nurse.
    • To Hitman 3:
      • The opening Dubai cutscene has 47 say "You never do" when Grey mentions that he "didn't plan this far ahead", referring to their failed storming on The Institute in Issue 3.
      • The final Dubai cutscene has Grey mention that he "doesn't like executive decision makers", alluding to his hatred of Ort-Meyer and Providence displayed throughout the games and here.
      • Berlins' passcode to the safe in Hirschmullers office is 1989, the year 47 and 6 tore down the Berlin Wall to get at a technician to disable their behavioural implants.
      • If 47 is disguised as junior lawyer Aaron Ford .Jr, he can give a cliff notes description of this entire comic series to Don Yates in the Mendoza level, referencing the Blue Seed incident, and how Diana attempted to go after them from outside the law, and mentions that her rap sheet is pretty extensive.
      • The final Mendoza cutscene has Diana mention that she saw 47 as a blank slate with whom she should control and bring life to, which is in reference to similar dialogue Diana says about 47 in the very last panels of Issue 6.
      • In the Memories section of Carpathian Mountains, Grey mentions that Diana has every right to not forgive 47 after what they did, alluding to 6 and 47 planting the bomb that would kill Diana's parents. The game also forces you to re-enact 47 killing Diana's parents within his memories.
      • The memory altering serum used by Ort-Meyer is used as the basis of a newer iteration of the same serum in Hitman 3. The doctor discussing the memory altering serum also tries to convince a nearby guard about potential use to effectively remove PTSD episodes, bad memories, and even abuse.
      • The Constant reminds 47 that's he's taken a memory altering serum before, and 47 vows, very sternly, to never do so again.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Diana and 47 finally meet at the end of the comic series in a bar, but as they do during the events of 2016, they never directly face each other so as to not draw suspicion. This means it doesn't directly contradict the tutorial for 2016 either, as they only say their names and reveal more about themselves until both are in a secure location, namely the wintery tundra of ICA Headquarters.
  • Choke Holds: 47 uses this on an elite soldier in Issue 1 to get through the city of Asunción, Paraguay undetected.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Diana versus all of Savi's thugs in Issue 2. Diana wanted to prove she could go after them by fighting, and it goes about as well as you'd think. Safe to say, she got some sense beaten into her, and learned that pure charisma is not enough.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • 47 uses his "Instinct" ability when looking for targets in a building in Chernobyl. "Instinct" is a feature of the games from Hitman: Absolution onwards, that is shown here exactly as the games use it (guys in painted red silhouettes are targets).
    • 47's penchant for the AMT Hardballer, better known as the Silverballer, is discovered when he uses one to kill one of the Pripyat soldiers, and he later duel wields a pair of them to kill a gang of killers helping them take down the Institute. He also somehow sets a house on fire from the outside. He's seen carrying a pair of them anytime his weapons are shown from then on.
    • Issue 5 gives us the first time 47 wears his iconic red tie-black suit combo.
    • Subject 6 was first mentioned in Hitman: Enemy Within novel as his first kill, which this comic makes a point to include in Issue 4 when Ort-Meyer alters 47's memories of the raid on the Institute to what the novel says, thus retaining the continuity on both ends.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: 47 and 6 use a metal table to evade bullet fire from the institute's armed guards.
  • Construction Catcalls: Some of Savi's thugs use this to get Diana's attention.
  • Clone Degeneration: This is what starts to happen to all the clones at The Institute, and Ort-Meyer directly blames the Partners' insistence on using the serum to wipe them of their memories of the raid on the building, all without properly testing it first. 47 is the only one to survive and not get affected by the degrative condition.
  • Didn't See That Coming: 47 and 6 take back The Institute after getting a device to knock out them and their clones' behavioural implants, and the guards of the facility barge in, and are suddenly heavily armed, something 6 did not account for. They're subsequently both pinned behind a metal table, and 6 quotes the trope in response as his plan falling apart.
  • Disproportionate Restitution: Subject 6 gives 47 a rabbit after they both tried to escape, and burned down Minulescu, a small farming village.
  • Escaped from the Lab: Issue 5 has 47 escape from the Satu Mare Mental Institute facility, playing out the start of Hitman: Codename 47. In particular, it's revealed here that this was a Failure Gambit by Ort-Meyer as The Constant wanted to shut down the cloning program, and freeing 47 was the only way to keep it running to create other clones like 47, and changing his mind. They do point out 47's convenient escape, however, before reinstating it:
    The Constant: "If I were a more suspicious man, I'd say you made yourself indispensable. At a time when you were very much disposable."
  • Every Man Has His Price: Diana gets Savi's thugs to turn turncoat to work for her by offering them lots more money that Savi.
  • Explosive Leash: 47 and 6 have to find a way to deactivate them before fleeing, and destroying, the institute.
  • Fish out of Water: Diana experiences this, going to a new school when she came from a privileged life.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Referenced by Diana, where she was going through Stage one (Denial), but claims it's more efficient than Dr. Kübler-Ross makes it out to be, with Diana claiming stage two is admitting you exist, with stage three being creating a new life for yourself.
  • Fun with Subtitles: The Russian language spoken by Mikhail is translated for us when 47 goes in guns blazing, but all Mikhail Slavsky says is just various swearwords... which are censored with symbols, making the "Translated from Russian" prompt completely redundant.

    G - Z 
  • Guns Akimbo: Both Diana and 47 duel-wield weapons at some point in the comic series, with 47 keeping a pair of his AMT Hardballers with him.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: 47 and 6 are responsible for tearing down the Berlin Wall, strapping some C4 to a spokespersons' chest to make sure he complies with their demands. They're looking for the person who made their behaviour implants, and the Berlin Wall is in the way, so they need it torn down.
  • Homage: This Panel in Issue 1 is referencing the infamous "Spiderman No More" panel.
  • Important Haircut: Diana has short hair when she spends more time at the ICA, contrasted with her long hair during her time as a gunrunner-psychologist.
  • Insert Grenade Here: 47 does this to Lohrmann and Weiss when they attempt to escape via a secret tunnel in Issue 1.
  • Ironic Echo: A thug got a little too cozy for Diana's liking, with him saying "Seems to me like you were begging for it". This gets him a broken wrist and the other thugs flee as a result. Diana parrots the phrase back at him as a retort.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Alfredo Stroessner; the former president of Paraguay in 1989 is never referred by his name in issue 1 of the comic, and when 6 describes their contract to kill Lohrmann and Weiss (a pair of underlings to Alfredo) he just refers to Alfredo as "the current president". The reason we know 6 is referring to Alfredo and not some Alternate History president is that there is a coup d'état in Paraguay when this contract takes place, 1989, which mirrors real life. We also know its 1989, as Diana has been training with Savi for two weeks at this point, with the date helpfully timestamped in Issue 2.
  • Little Miss Badass: Diana, so very much. Not only did she beat up some low-level thugs for information on who they work for, but also uses her age as a way to infiltrate the Blue Seed offices, using Crocodile Tears to get the secretary out of the way. She later on goes after Blue Seed head Cheryl Franklin personally, and knee-caps a lot of the guards, and very nearly shoots Blue Seed exec Alvin Forrestal in the head.
  • Lost in a Crowd: 47 does this on the cover for Issue 5, and Issue 2 has 47 and 6 look for the Technician in a sea of people outside the Berlin Wall.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Diana. In Issue 3, Diana convinces Savi's men that she ratted some of their men out, and convinces them to work for her instead.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Like in the games, 47 has a vested interest in making accident kills. He kills one of his targets when working for Institute by crushing him with a chandelier, another with some loose rock (which he chiselled to make loose), falling from above, and another dies by being lured to their wine cellar and being impaled on broken wine bottles.
  • Morton's Fork: Issue 2 ends with a Cliffhanger as to whether or not Diana will shoot one of her targets. She doesn't, and asks for information about her parents' death, but Savi, foreseeing that she might not kill him, has a sniper kill him instead.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The first issue cover is a reference to the famous promotional image of 47 sitting behind a neon sign with a sniper rifle in tow. This itself was also referenced in the "Legacy" cinematic for 2016.
    • Issue 2 shows Wodehouse and Diana driving a luxury car that closely resembles a similar luxury car driving Viktor Novikov to the Paris Sanguine Fashion Show in the E3 2015 trailer, both cars also share the same dark purple color scheme. Sadly changed to be a generic grey color in the Omnibus edition.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Diana has green eyes, red hair in this comic book, in contrast to her blue eyes in 2016 onwards the games.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Robyn notes that having four agents to kill Franklin is a bit overkill, but should be more than enough to accomplish the hit. The hit goes sideways fast because 47 is also contracted by a separate client to kill Franklin before the ICA can.
  • Omniglot: 47 and 6 can speak German when going after a contractor in Berlin.
  • Playing with Syringes: Ort-Meyer in Issue 4 (and probably more times before that too). After 6 and 47's coup fails, 47 is subjected to memory-altering therapy involving syringes.
  • Poetic Justice: 6 asks 47 if he knows what it is, with 47 bluntly replying "No". 6 goes into explaining the meaning of the phrase to him. The comic goes on to show Tor Halversom to retreat to his wine cellar, and get hit by a cork from a bottle behind him, with several other bottles hitting him in the direction of a broken wine bottle, impaling him.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: A Downplayed Trope: Issue 5 recreates the tutorial for Codename 47, albeit truncated. While it largely sticks to the games' events, it does remove the part about Ort-Meyer asking you to pick up one of two guns from a table (a Desert Eagle or the AMT Hardballer). While in-game, said table was actually made up of two crates, the comic opts to remove this part, and displays his suit, as well as weapons, on a plinth, with no guns in sight, being replaced with a Fiber Wire and knives. 47 does however, take two pistols from the orderlies a few pages later.
  • Prequel: This comic is a prequel to the entire Hitman video game series:
    • It updates 47's origins to give him some more sympathetic motivations, as he was made to kill, but has emotions that he's routinely told to ignore and suppress by Ort-Meyer with the help of special pills.
    • 47 is also friends with another clone; Subject 6, who was originally depicted as his first kill in Hitman: Enemy Within, but it has been retooled here into a childhood friend of 47 that helped him take down The Institute and failed, and was forced to flee when the guards overpowered them, and the comic explicitly references the book when 47's memories were jumbled up.
    • It also makes some solid origins for Diana Burnwood too, showing the path taken by her to becoming an ICA Handler (going after the company that killed her parents primarily), but also retcons out her sister Emma, as well as killing both parents and her brother, instead of just her father.
    • The reason why 47 escapes the Satu Mare Asylum at the start of Hitman: Codename 47 is because Ort-Meyer's backers funding the cloning program are Providence, an Illuminati-esque conspiracy, and freeing 47 was the only way to keep the clone program running (even quoting the start,and several later parts, of the game's tutorial).
  • Steel Ear Drums: Averted. Diana abuses this fact of hearing in Issue 2 while escaping from the Blue Seed offices. She shoots randomly in the air with her gun so the police officers all get briefly stunned, allowing her to escape into the city centre.
  • Super Breeding Program: This is what Ort-Meyer was doing, and it's his life's work, and no other faction has even come close to replicating his success. He was being funded by Providence, something Janus alludes to in Hitman 2, while The Constant in the Isle of Sgail mission mentions that Janus did not approve of the cloning program, but The Partners did.
  • Slasher Smile: Pretty much anyone who's a bad guy does this at least once. Diana does this at the end of Issue 5.
  • Taught by Experience: Diana's mentor, Savi, believes in this, to the point where she asks the very young Diana to drive their very expensive car.
  • The Handler: Robyn Gore is Diana's first handler, who teaches her the ropes of how the ICA works. On her first proper mission to assassinate Franklin Marchand, Diana acts as this for the Agents carrying out the hit.
  • The Sneaky Gal: Diana in issue 1 sneaks out of her hospital bed by sneaking past the man who found her, looked at a hosital map, as well as lock-picking her way into the morgue.
  • Time Skip: Issue 4 does this three times; After 47 is captured and has his memories jumbled up, the comic skips from 1989 to 1994. It happens again to 1996 when Ort-Meyer is contemplating on his subjects effectiveness declining, and finally to 1998, where the Partners want to use 47 to do their bidding.
    • Issue 5 does this after 47 is freed from Providence's hands and when Diana joins the ICA, where it skips to 1999.
  • The Nicknamer: Savi calls Diana "Little Bird" quite a lot. Both 6 and 47 call each other "Brother" on occasion.
  • Unflinching Walk: 47 does this when he blows Lohrmann and Weiss to kingdom come (two third-Reich surgeons) by throwing two grenades into a sewer opening.
  • Walking Spoiler:
    • As mentioned at the top of the page, it is impossible to talk about this comic without mentioning the death of Diana's parents at any point, as they provide Diana with enough resolve to find and take down Blue Seed, and especially since this spoiler happens on Page 2. Despite releasing during the gap between Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2, the latter game is necessary to play through as the true murderer of Diana's parents is revealed near the end of that game.
    • The fact The Constant and Erich Soders are mentioned and seen, with the latter coming out of nowhere to aid Diana in killing some hired guards, this should be a huge red flag for those who've completed Hitman (2016).
  • Worldbuilding: Basically the raison d'être of the comic series is to establish a consistent backstory for Diana, Subject 6 and Agent 47. Surprisingly, there is a lot of Continuity shared between this comic, the novels, and the games:
    • 47 first uses AMT Hardballers (Silverballers) after their client for the Pripyat hit gives them a whole suitcase of guns as they were so satisfied with the results.
    • The Satu Mare Mental Institute from Codename 47 is used only after the the Institute for Human Betterment is burned down, something later used as a plot point in Hitman 2 for Grey to reach out to 47.
    • Ort-Meyer frees 47 from the Satu Mare Mental Institute at the start of Codename 47 because Providence wanted to use him for their own ends, and he realised he'd never see 47 again, which directly leads into a recreation of the tutorial for Hitman: Codename 47.
    • The Hitman: Enemy Within novel gets used as a plot point, as Subject 6 was described as 47's first kill, when in fact here its revealed that 47's memory was changed in Issue 4 by Ort-Meyer to make him forget and hate Subject 6, not treat him as a brother as this comic and Hitman 2 otherwise depicts.
    • Diana's parents appear here, albeit briefly, only being mentioned in the ICA files for Absolution prior to this comic. They are killed by a car bomb 47 and 6 plant, unwittingly making Diana an Orphan.
    • Savi is Diana's mentor, teaching her the art of stealth, and how to survive on her own.
  • You Are Number 6: Subject 6 and Subject 47. The former first being mentioned in the Hitman: Enemy Within novel, and later appearing in Hitman (2016) as "The Shadow Client" until Hitman 2 reveals him as Subject 6, a fellow clone of Ort-Meyer. He gives 47 a drug to make 47 remember who he is. The latter being the playable character throughout the Hitman franchise. They are so named as Ort-Meyer used numbers to designate clone successes, and 6 and 47 are among the few clones to survive.
  • Youthful Freckles: A young Diana sports these.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Justified for both Janus and Edwards (The first and second Constant's), as well as for Erich Soders as they are all portrayed as being younger men, but 47, Diana and her parents look very different to their CG counterparts, as depicted in the "Untouchable" and "A Bad Hand" cutscenes in Hitman 2:
    • Diana's younger self has her hair being well kept instead of being long and flowing, her forehead is massive, she's wearing a different dress (Diana wears a plain white dress in this comic, instead of posh school clothes shown in Hitman 2), and also not having Youthful Freckles like Diana has here.
    • 47 just looks the same as he does in Hitman 2, with almost no attempt to make him look younger. He's also not wearing plumbing overalls like in the comic, instead sporting the Tactical Turtleneck (the one he wears in the tutorial and Patient Zero campaign for 2016, 2 and 3). This is Averted in Hitman 3, where 47 actually bears quite a strong resemblance to his comic counterpart in-game.