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Comic Book / Hitman (1993)

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"I'm interested in Hitman as a character in the larger DCU, and 'the area of Gotham so bad that Batman doesn't go there,' because Batman is a dude that has paid multiple visits to a planet literally called Apokolips."
Comics Alliance on Hitman

Question: What would happen if you crossed over Sergio Leone, John Woo, Sam Peckinpah, The DCU, and The Boondock Saints?

Experienced tropers would say "A New Old Western Heroic Bloodshed Fantastic Noir taking the piss out of superheroes with an Irish accent."

Then you'd wonder if someone was actually crazy enough to make something this Troperiffic.

Aaannd then you'd find out the real answer is: Hitman.

Hitman is a Cult Classic comic book series written by popular and controversial writer Garth Ennis of Preacher and The Punisher fame and drawn by frequent Ennis collaborator John McCrea, starring Tommy Monaghan. It had its origins in the 1990s Dark Age-tastic Bloodlines Crisis Crossover, where aliens invaded Earth to murder human beings and drain their spinal fluids, which somehow gave the few survivors superpowers in the process. It was easily forgettable, and the cast of '90s Anti-Heroes equally so. Bloodlines was meant to profit off the Dark Age phenomenon by creating a new batch of "heroes" for the era, because, after all, Darker and Edgier sells, doesn't it?

A former Marine and professional hitman, Tommy hangs out in the Cauldron, the poor Irish district of Gotham City. He frequents a bar with his buddies and father figure. During the Bloodlines crossover, in The Demon Annual vol. 3 #2 (1993), Tommy survived an encounter with one of the invading Alien knockoffs and gained two abilities: X-Ray Vision and Telepathy. Both powers prove to be rather handy to a man of his profession.

With these, a lot of guns, and a loyal band of friends, Tommy's contracts will always set him off on insane adventures one can expect in a colourful world like The DCU, but this being a Garth Ennis book, there's always a darkly humourous and satirical bent. What other comic can you read about hitmen fighting zombie baby seals, two-headed mafiosos, Ricean vampire pansies, gun-demons, dinosaurs, Eldritch Abominations, the Justice League, Batman and Lobo?

The Hitman solo series lasted for 61 issues, running from April, 1996 to April, 2001, with a 2007 two-issue series, JLA/Hitman, which serves as a follow-up. This series is chock full of Ennis' signature trademarks, yet it also emanates his signature subtle compassion. In a series that mostly exists to thrive on the Rule of Cool, it can be surprisingly humane, compassionate, tragic and heartwrenching, with a finale that will reduce you to tears. This is primarily because Hitman (like most Ennis series) is a victim of Cerebus Syndrome, but it never lost its sense of humour or fun, even past the turning point of the syndrome.

In 2015, a spin-off miniseries called All-Star Section Eight, concerning Six-Pack trying to put together a new team after these years, debuted. This was followed a year later by another miniseries titled Sixpack and Dogwelder: Travelin' Heroz.

Do not confuse it with the Hitman franchise that started with the eponymous video games; for its comic book series go to Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman.

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Deborah Tiegel. Also McAllister, Catwoman, and Wonder Woman. Only two major female characters really aren't.
  • Action Girlfriend: Deborah again. She proves to be able to repeatedly floor Tommy every time he pisses her off.
    • Also McAllister again, in the final arc.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: When Ringo describes having (apparently) met the personification of Death, Death looks like an Asian Saint of Killers. Tommy says he would have expected Death to look like Clint Eastwood, while Natt says he "oughta be just like Shaft." Ringo says, "Perhaps for you, he will be."
  • Always Someone Better: Johnny Navarone sees himself as this. So does Tommy, until Johnny pisses him off.
  • Anyone Can Die: At the end of the story, only three of the main cast reach old age. Hint: Tommy ain't one of 'em.
    • And one of the three characters who does survive goes on to be pretty brutally killed in Punisher: MAX.
  • Argentina Is Nazi-Land: When Tiegel's grandpa dies, his old military comrades come "from South America" for his funeral.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: A Stegosaurus coexisting with a Tyrannosaurus rex in the "Fresh Meat" arc.
  • Ass Shove: Parodied / lampshaded along with Ass Pull with the unfortunate researcher from Injun Peak who develops the power to pull whatever he wants from a certain orifice.
  • The Atoner: Tommy has a bout of this in the "Tommy's Heroes" arc.
    • Tommy has a bout of this in the whole series, and it kills him.
  • Author Appeal: It's a Garth Ennis work. Guns, over the top violence, black comedy, Rape as Comedy, the Irish, Action Girls, satire and parody.
  • Author Tract: It's a Garth Ennis work. Superheroes (except Superman) are dicks who can't empathize with regular Joes, corporations suck, immigration themes, there's more to people than you think, you shouldn't look down on the lower class, etc. But Ennis shows that Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Ax-Crazy: Most of the villains and Tommy's friend Hacken have a tendency to brutally kill unprovoked.
  • Bad Boss: Agent Truman, and several Mafia Dons.
  • Bad Santa: "The Santa Contract" involves Tommy and Natt being hired to ice a radioactive murderer in a Santa suit.
  • Bash Brothers: Tommy and Natt the Hat.
  • Beard of Sorrow: After returning from Ireland (where some very-not-good things happened) Tommy doesn't go to Noonan's for about a month. When Natt goes to talk to him, he's grown a beard.
  • Berserk Button: Never mess with Tommy's home turf. Just ask those vampires. Or those dinosaurs. Or the mob. Or the CIA.
    • Also, for whatever reason, Tommy gets very offended when someone suggests he'd ever call a woman a bitch- even when he was just about to call a woman a bitch.
  • Beware the Superman: Subverted. Every superhero Ennis makes up is an incompetent buffoon (except for Superman himself).
  • Best Served Cold: The Father's Day arc.
  • Big Bad: Agent Truman.
  • Big Eater: A feature of Gotham City that future writers did not adopt is the fast-food chain Bucketburger. It sells beer, lets you smoke inside, and sells burgers that are significantly larger than the human head.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Ennis loved mocking whatever was new at DC. His Crisis Crossover contributions center on the characters dismissing the event or talking about how stupid the whole thing is, both Mullet Superman and Superman-Blue were treated as downright blasphemous, and whenever Ennis brought up other characters who debuted in Bloodlines, they were dismissed as pathetic losers (in particular, the DC One Million tie-in features a Legacy Character of Gunfire who injures himself by accidentally turning his medipak into a gun and blows up after accidentally turning his own ass into a hand-grenade, while the Justice League crossover miniseries released six years after the main series ended had the alien parasites from Bloodlines return and picking Hitman over the other heroes spawned from that storyline because they considered them useless and unimpressive).
  • Black Comedy: A lot of morbid humor is made out of people getting killed in the series, and not all of it is from Tommy's hits.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Bueno Excellente has raped Green Lantern and Lobo.
    • These are only implied, but they're pretty heavily implied.
      • It's implied that Black Comedy Rape is basically Bueno Excellente's superpower.
    • Averted in the JLA crossover. When Superman breaks free of the parasite's control, the aftermath is treated like a rape scene, with Superman wrapped up in his cape and talking about how it "took everything he had." However unlike the above examples this is not Played for Laughs.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Inverted. Natt is the last of the main characters who dies.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Tommy Monaghan is a contract killer who likes what he does and is a bit of a skeeve by using his X-ray vision to see through women's clothes without their knowledge, but he only kills people who are worse than he is and in fact draws the line at killing good people.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: The "Ace of Killers" arc featured a silver-inlaid and diamond-studded rifle known as the Ace of Winchesters. Various parties tried to get their hands on it, some because of its monetary value, some because it was able to kill demons. So long as it's loaded, that is ...
  • Bloody Hilarious: It is common for the violence to be played for dark comedy.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Something of an inconsistent trope. Guns having unlimited ammunition is either played straight, subverted, averted, lampshaded.
  • Boisterous Bruiser:
    • Hacken is a huge brute who loves a good fight.
    • Nightfist. He will HIT you with his FIST!
    • Sixpack fights criminals, vampires, demons, dinosaurs, and elite paramilitary troops, using only broken bottles and booze breath.
  • Bulungi: The "Tommy's Heroes" arc has Tommy and friends working as mercenaries in the fictional African country of Tynanda.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tommy. And Hacken.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: The point of the Father's Day arc. Tommy has a score to settle with his father.
  • Captain Ersatz: An obscure example is found in Scarback, the T. rex in the dinosaurs arc. He is supposedly based on Old One-Eye, a similar T. rex that appeared in the 2000 AD series Flesh. The arc where Scarback appears involves a hunter traveling back in time to kill dinosaurs, which was also the premise of Flesh. Scarback is also described as "the old hag monster"— the exact words repeatedly used to describe Old One-Eye.
  • Car Fu: If there's something in the way, and Natt the Hat's behind the wheel, you can bet this will happen.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Tommy, natch. Arguably the worst hand to hand fighter in the series, yet he makes up for it with Improbable Aiming Skills. To paraphrase what he said to Sean after killing a pot dealer in his youth, having used a gun for the first time and killed a man for the first time, "I ain't Going Toe-to-Toe with Bonko Finneran when I can take him from ten feet away."
    • What do you do if you're facing a genetically-engineered gunslinger who can draw shoot and holster, then grab the lighter he just had in his hand before it falls more than a few inches? Have your buddy shoot him from behind, of course.
  • The Comically Serious: Batman, whenever he shows up. The bit in the second issue where Tommy pukes on his shoes is a sight to behold.
  • Crisis Crossover: Lampshaded by the characters, who are often a bit perturbed how big, world-shattering events seems to occur like clockwork once a year but everything goes right back to normal once they're over.
  • Crossover:
    • Tommy and the gang protect the Cauldron during Batman: No Man's Land, and wax nostalgic during Final Night.
    • Etrigan, Green Lantern, Catwoman, Superman, and Batman all show up at various times.
    • The leader of the vampire coven in the "Dead Man's Land" arc also appeared in Ennis's run on Hellblazer.
    • Tommy's involvement with DC One Million has him brought to the titular future by a bunch of misguided fanboys who view him as one of the greatest heroes of the 20th century. He proceeds to show them how this kind of rep is... quite overblown. No, it doesn't even skim the main story, but it's hilarious.
    • Kathryn McAllister from the final arc, "Closing Time," is the same woman as Kathryn O'Brien from Ennis's run on Punisher. (In her final appearance, she talks about her past relationships, including "that stupid bastard Tommy.") In The Punisher: Up is Down, Black is White it's mentioned that one of O'brien's aliases is McAllister.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: The old German tank Tommy and his friends commandeer in northern Africa has graffiti suggesting it was the one Teigel's grandfather served in during World War II.
  • The Dragon: Tommy has occasionally faced a few.
  • Dramatic Ammo Depletion: In the "Ace of Winchesters" story arc, everybody is trying to get their hands on the eponymous rifle, as it's a gun capable of killing demons. Etrigan literally has to go deep into Hell in order to retrieve it. Tommy finally gets the gun just as he's about to be killed by the Mawzir, puts the barrel to the Mawzir's head, pulls the trigger, and ... nothing happens. In all the excitement, nobody bothered to actually check whether the thing was loaded.
  • Dwindling Party: As the series continues, the gang of Noonan's Bar slowly deceases one by one, until the final arc "Closing Time" that starts with just Tommy, Natt and Hacken of the originals left. Two out of those three don't make it to the end.
  • Evil Colonialist: The real villain in the Tynanda arc is Martindale, an American businessman who is propping up a violent dictatorship while selling them overpriced arms.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Zombie Night At The Gotham Aquarium. It's about zombies. In Gotham. At the aquarium.
  • Expy: As is somewhat standard in Garth Ennis works, we get a few, most of them resembling characters from the concurrently running Preacher.
    • We get brief glimpses of an incarnation of death who looks very much like an East Asian version of the Saint of Killers.
    • Bueno Excellente bears some broad similarities to Freddy, one of the "sexual investigators."
    • Tommy is one, to some extent, for Cassidy. Both are young Irish (Irish-American in Tommy's case) men who gain superpowers by being attacked by parasitic creatures, both wear sunglasses to disguise their unusual eyes, and (given Tommy's rocky relationship with Teigel and his past in Desert Storm) both are portrayed as sometimes weak and naive. Tommy is overall a much better, stronger person than Cassidy, however.
  • Eye Scream: Ringo loses an eye in For Tomorrow.
  • Fantastic Noir: It's a series about a telepathic hitman with x-ray vision who kills vampires, dinosaurs and dorky superheroes. He even works out of a busted-up but well-loved bar.
  • Flipping the Bird: In issue two, Tommy flips off Pat off-panel in response to Pat asking if he can be his kid sidekick.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Tommy does this all the damn time. Using his Telepathy gives him migraines(if he overuses it, they last several days) so he only uses it when there's an active threat to his life. He has no such limit to his X-Ray Vision, but it takes a conscious effort to use it, so he often forgets about it save when he looks through women's clothes.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: Tommy served as marine sniper in the Gulf war before returning to Gotham to become a professional hitman.
  • Future Imperfect: Tommy is dragged to the future, where he's become a legend for fighting the evil Batman, the Dredd-like cops with his beautiful assistant Natalie. The truth is... somewhat different.
  • The Ghost: Tommy and friends frequently mention making deals with Timmy the Fish, who never appears in person.
  • Give Chase with Angry Natives: In Hitman vs Lobo, Hitman uses this trick, shooting Lobo in the eyes (forcing him to follow by smell until they regenerate) and leading him in a merry chase through all the local gang meeting places, dispatching several of his personal foes in the ensuing chaos. Then he leads him into an actual ambush by Six-pac and his squad... The gods of plot are with him and the most incompetent band of super-misfits on the planet actually wins.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: A humorous take on this trope appears in the 15th issue when a drunken Tiegel makes advances towards Tommy. Angel Tommy and Devil Tommy say the same thing, with the difference being that Angel Tommy's encouragement towards Tommy taking advantage of Tiegel's inebriated state is blatantly sarcastic, while Devil Tommy's is completely sincere.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: Supervillain Scarlet Rose has the ability to make roses grow. Which she uses to hideously kill people by making them grow inside their bodies.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Being that this is one of Ennis's few titles in the mainline DCU, he can't indulge in his usual Cluster F-Bomb tendencies, so there's a lot of "motherloving" and "friggers" thrown around. The implication is that the actual swears are being used, as at one point Tommy gets mortified at realizing he said "friggin'" in front of Superman and apologizes (Superman reassures him that it's not a big deal).
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In Tommy's first appearance in another series, Etrigan, a rhyming demon gets into a fight with an obese alien parasite. In the ensuing battle(which happens to take place at the funeral of a mob boss that the alien parasite had killed earlier), Etrigan (the demon) initiates combat by bludgeoning the alien with the corpse. Yes, you read that correctly. On top of that, the corpse's head flies off when it hits the alien.
    Etrigan: Oh come, old pal! Don't have a tiff! Relax! Kick back! Be cool! Eat stiff!
  • The Grinch: The villain of "The Santa Contract" is a curmudgeonly janitor named Bob Smurd who hates Christmas with a passion and eventually goes on a killing spree after events lead to him becoming a radioactive mutant in a Santa suit.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Teigel's reaction to one of Tommy's attempts to get back together after he cheated on her. He should count himself lucky — her reactions to two other attempts resulted in her punching him out and leaving him for an elephant to urinate on, and persuading him to strip naked before locking him in a small room with only a lion for company.
    • A story in the first issue of Superman 80-Page Giant has Sixpack kick Doomsday in the balls in a dream.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Tommy, and pretty much everyone else who hangs out at Noonan's. They do cotton to the fact that they kill people, but they only intentionally kill assholes, rival hitmen, or other sorts of murdering abominations.
  • I Have a Family: "The Old Dog" arc has Benito Gallo force one of his men to get involved in the fight by threatening to kill him with a knife. The man pleads that he has a wife and kids, to which Benito replies that they will be next.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: While Tommy and his friends are crack shots who can routinely score head-shots from dozens of feet away, the Mooks they end up fighting can barely manage to scratch them with thousands of rounds of ammunition. Frequently, Tommy and the boys merely stand behind some cover (like a wooden bar or church) and easily fend off dozens of men charging at them with guns blazing.
    • This is lampshaded by a mook who comments that giving a gun and a suit to a guy recruited from the street doesn't automatically make him a competent enforcer.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Tommy explains that this is why he trusts Superman.
  • Informed Ability: The SAS soldiers are presented as more badass than anyone in the series, and when confronting them Tommy and Natt can only run away or get really, really lucky. But in the "blow away a whole bunch of guys at once" department, they're not discernibly better than Tommy, Natt, or several other characters.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Tommy ends his relationship with Tiegel once and for all by pretty much telling her outright that he's a scumbag, and if they stay together he'd just keep letting her down and screwing up. He's saying it because it's true, but he's ALSO saying it because he's about to take on a pretty good sized chunk of the CIA and doesn't want her around for it. Whether or not a reader thinks he would have said/done it if not for the whole CIA thing varies.
  • Invincible Villain:
    • Beautifully subverted in one of the last stories. Tommy has heard of a killer hitman out there, the son of the one gunman Tommy truly feared and who Tommy beat by pure luck. He sees videos of the guy blowing away targets with stunning accuracy, never missing a shot, often not even looking before firing. Thus, Tommy is worried about facing this freak of nature and being so outmatched. It comes down to the killer getting the drop right on Tommy, a gun to his face, no way he can possibly miss...*click* He's forgotten to remove the safety and it hits Tommy (and the reader) that we've only seen this guy shooting at targets and, in truth, he's never actually shot a real person in a real gun battle in his life. Tommy just grins as he dumps a mag into him.
    • Hitman Annual has a guy pumped full of Psycho Serum who can out-draw anyone. Tommy knows this, and ends up facing the guy along with a bunch of other goons. So how do you beat a gunslinger who draws faster than you can blink? To quote Nat, have your buddy blow his head off from behind.
  • Joker Immunity: Zigzagged in one early issue, where Tommy actually gets hired to break into Arkham Asylum to assassinate The Joker (and accepts a bunch of other lesser contracts to off random psychoes there, and to kneecap the Mad Hatter). A number of Gotham police are forced to stand guard, even as they protest they don't want to stop Tommy from doing it, and Batman shows up to interfere because, despite his own wishes, a hitman murdering someone in a prison is still illegal. Not to mention Tommy is basically being used by some demons who seek to recruit him as an agent, and so if he does kill the Joker, they get his soul.
  • Knights Of Cerebus: The arc "Who Dares Wins" involves Tommy and Natt being doggedly hunted by a squad of SAS soldiers for a past Gulf Storm "friendly fire" incident. Multiple issues following dealt with both the character's horror at feeling completely outclassed by the soldiers and the blowback/collateral damage from the fight.
  • Lawman Gone Bad: Sheriff Halliday in Hitman Annual #1.
  • Louis Cypher: In "The Night the Lights went Out" - which takes place during Final Night - Tommy and the boys barricade themselves in Noonan's and tell each other stories about their closest brush with death. Ringo has a DOOZY.
    Ringo: The time I came face to face with Death, I think I actually met him. It's one of those curious half-memories that you always seem to be looking at through smoke. You know the events leading up to it were real, but after that...
    It was my first hit. My uncle sent me to Hong Kong to settle a debt for him. Simple work. I shouldn't have lingered, but I'd used a silencer. None of them had gotten off a shot.
    And the champagne was Dom Perignon...
    And Hong Kong at night looks like Manhattan built up against a mountain.
    Death: It is very beautiful.
    Ringo: (spins and fires three times)
    I know I hit him. That close, I couldn't have missed if I was blind. I saw the smoke rise from the barrel and heard the tinkle as the cases hit the floor. I was thinking: Kevlar?

    Death: You are a killer. And yet you can appreciate the beauty in a skyline, or in the taste of good champagne. You bring death, you like life.
    Ringo: ...I've found the two need not be mutually exclusive.
    Death: Good. I agree. You can relax, by the way. I came for the men you murdered.
    Ringo: You took the contract too?
    Death: Oh no. No, without your involvement, mine would have not have been necessary. But I must go. It was nice to stand here and enjoy the view with you. I have something of yours. Goodbye. Until we meet again. (places three fired bullets on railing)
    Ringo: (drops champagne)
  • A MacGuffin Full of Money: The story in Hitman Annual #1 was titled "A Coffin Full of Dollars".
  • Manchild: Just about every time someone gets legitimately angry at Hacken, they can't seem to because it's like yelling at a crying kid.
  • Manly Tears: Chock full o' moments. The SAS funeral, with the saddest toast in the world. "Bob was a good soldier." "I'm glad we never found out." And, of course, the ending. We are such little men.
  • Mauve Shirt: A full team of them, Section Eight. Ultimately subverted. All but two die, Bueno Excellente and a sober Six Pack.
  • Meaningful Name: Tommy's mother was the town whore, with her clients discreetly visiting her but showing nothing but contempt during the day. She got back at them by naming each child after the father, calling the kid by name every time the father (and his wife) were nearby. This gets her killed after a local psycho warns her not to do the same with him, but she does it anyway. The man's name? Thomas Dawson.
  • Mercy Kill: Tommy gives one to Pat when he finds him tortured to the brink of death by Johnny Navarone.
  • Merger of Souls: One arc featured the Mawzir, a ten-armed demonic minion created by merging the souls of an entire Nazi police battalion. When it is destroyed, the five Nazis are resurrected - only for Tommy and his friends to gun them down again.
  • Moment Killer: Tommy manages to say that he thinks he's in love with Tiegel. She sits there stunned... and then a giraffe drops in to eat Tommy's ice cream.
  • Mood Whiplash: If you're reading the collections. After the seriously dark Katie in volume 5 and the events of volume 6, volume 7 starts with parody stories featuring Lobo and Six-Pack before normal service is resumed in Closing Time.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Hacken, Hacken, Hacken, Hacken.
  • Nazi Grandpa: Teigel's (paternal) grandfather is a German Second World War veteran who likes to encourage Teigel and her mother to join him in singing Nazi songs. It's worth mentioning at this point that Teigel and her mother are black.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: During the "Zombie Night At The Gotham Aquarium" arc, a saltwater crocodile is one of the zombified sea animals that overruns the aquarium.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Parodied with Nightfist. A touch hypocritical, since Tommy himself can be seen as a less pretentious and more self-aware example of the breed. Still, Nightfist steals drugs from pushers and Tommy murders people for a living, which is the whole point.
  • No Indoor Voice: Baytor says little besides a scream of "I AM BAYTOR!"
  • Oh, Crap!: Natt when he realises the SAS are after him and Tommy. Bear in mind these guys take on gangs, The Mob, supervillains and supernatural enemies on a fairly regular basis.
  • Only Sane Man: Friendly Fire is the only member of Section Eight who realizes how ridiculous they all are.
  • Orphaned Punchline: In the DC One Million tie-in, Tommy finds himself teleported to the 853rd century while he was in the middle of telling a joke at Noonan's.
    Tommy: ...An' the cowboy says read my lips: posse!
  • The Parody Before Christmas: A Twisted Christmas issue had Tommy and Nat hunting a radioactive homicidal maniac in a Santa suit through Gotham in the dead of night, with narration as a parody of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas".
  • Power Perversion Potential:
    • Tommy is definitely not above using his X-Ray Vision when meeting women... even Catwoman.
    • How does he know it stopped working? He's looking at Wonder Woman as he's saying it.
  • Precision F-Strike: Natt's mother made him give up swearing as her dying wish. The arrival of the SAS scares him badly enough that he does it anyway, figuring he won't live long enough to regret it.
  • Professional Killer: Kind of goes without saying.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Hacken is a type B. Big, strong, lethal, prone to rage fits but simple minded, clumsy, very loyal to his friends and very child like.
  • Pulling Your Child Away: Inverted — Tommy's mother was the local prostitute in an Irish town, who named her sons after the clients who'd fathered them (all married men). If ever she met one in the street, she'd pull the corresponding child along, saying "Come along, [Client's name]," within earshot to make them feel guilty. This leads to her murder when Tommy's father turns out to be an utter sociopath who kills her for attacking his respectability.
  • Raising the Steaks: The "Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium" arc has Tommy and his friends fight zombie animals.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The zombies in "Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium" have red eyes to make them all the more menacing.
  • Red Skies Crossover: Almost played for humor in the tie-in to Final Night, where, upon seeing that the sun is going out, the entire cast just shrugs and hunkers down at Noonan's, with a general attitude of "hey, it's not like we can do anything about it." The rest of the issue is just them swapping stories, treating the whole thing as a loose framing device.
  • Right Behind Me: In JLA/Hitman, right when Batman starts ranting about how Tommy is scum and the lowest of the low, Superman walks in, shakes his hand, and greets him on a first-name basis.
  • The Rival: Tommy and Ringo. Whether it's played straight or subverted depends how far along in the story you are, what the stakes are, and what day of the week it is.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Every time a villain is dumb enough to kill off a main character, Tommy goes on one of these. The one in the epilogue of "The Old Dog" is particularly brutal/epic/terrible/justified.
  • Serial Escalation: How crazy can Tommy's adventures get?
  • Shout-Out: Many. To Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy, Blade Runner, and much more.
    • One Christmas Episode has a janitor fall into a nuclear reactor and gain superpowers, then escape to cause havoc. Totally-not-Burns and Smithers show up to discuss damage control.
    • Sean's trademark .30 machine gun is exactly the same make and model as the one that's famously used in Death Wish III.
    • As mentioned above, the "Fresh Meat" arc is one big reference to Flesh, with its hunters traveling back in time to kill dinosaurs, and a scarred tyrannosaur antagonist.
  • Sole Survivor: Hacken is the only one of the core Noonan's crew to survive, although Baytor, McAllister, and Tiegel also live. Bueno Excellente is the only confirmed survivor of Section Eight, though Six Pack is also strongly implied to still be alive.
  • Spin-Off: The series itself is a spin-off of the Bloodlines crossover event, where Tommy Monaghan made his debut in the second annual issue of The Demon before joining the other heroes empowered by the alien parasites in the concluding Bloodbath miniseries. Notably, Hitman was the longest-running title to come out of Bloodlines. In addition, Tommy Monaghan appeared in a couple of arcs in the main comic of The Demon before he got his own ongoing.
  • Superhero Packing Heat
  • Sympathy for the Hero: Though Tommy's not villainous, he hates all superheroes... except Superman. Superman's OK by him. It should be noted that Tommy's views of superheroes more or less mirror Ennis's own, with Superman being the only one he genuinely likes, and a handful of others he seems to grudgingly respect.
    • Batman is never treated as anything save an unstoppable badass. Tommy manages to get his licks in from time to time, but they're usually of the embarrassing variety AKA puking on him.
    • He eventually warms up to Green Lantern, but still thinks he's naive and fun to screw with.
    • He meets the League proper in Grant Morrison's JLA, and they're treated... well, they're not bad people in his eyes, but it's revealed that he let Bueno Excellente rape GL while unconscious, so he probably still thinks GL's a sissy. Flash is shown as humorless(and useless without his powers) but still brave and professional. He's polite and respectful to Wonder Woman (though that might have something to do with Tommy's X-Ray vision) and they treat each other as fellow warriors.
  • Take That!: You can copy and paste the examples from Preacher and place them here.
    • There's a pretty specific one at the expense of obscure superhero Gunfire in the DC One Million issue, where Tommy runs into a Legacy Character who ends up killing himself by accident as a result of his inability to control his power of turning whatever he touches into firearms or hand grenades. The people who brought Tommy to the 853rd century even remark how pathetic he is when they watch his squabble with Tommy.
    • The Hitman/Lobo special is one long dig against the Main Man, where Tommy and Section 8 subject Lobo to a lot of indignities and prevent him from tearing them apart by blackmailing him with videotape of him marrying Bueno Excellente.
      • It also throws one in against Bon Jovi, when Tommy mentions one of their (supposed) songs, "Love Is Bland (Don't Step On My Hair)."
      • Then still later, when Lobo is killing a bunch of mobsters, Tommy calls Sean on the phone. Sean asks where all the agonized screaming is coming from. Tommy replies, "I'm in a movie theater. It's the audience, they're watchin' a Joel Schumacher retrospective..."
    • One newspaper Sean reads in issue 46 has articles titled "A cretin kicked a ball today and was paid too much money - why?" and "Some idiot with a stick and stupid trousers got cash for pushing a ball into a hole - eh?"
    • In the 55th issue, Tommy angrily guns down a jukebox because it was playing Britney Spears.
  • Title Drop: The "For Tomorrow" arc has a piece of dialogue by Ringo stating that most Hitmen live ...for tomorrow, meaning they long for the day when they can quit the business. Most of them don't, however, and die horrible deaths.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: In one issue, a group of time-displaced Tyrannosaurs are going around causing general havoc and destruction, and one of them eats Baytor...only to spit him back out a few moments later.
  • Torture Technician: The Waterman. And to make things worse he's a Psycho Electro as well.
    • Johnny Navarone as well, though we don't see the actual torture, just the results.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Tommy gets his powers by surviving an attack by an alien that sucked out his spinal fluid.
  • True Companions: Tommy and the rest of the regulars that hang out at Sean's pub.
  • Try and Follow: Subverted; Tommy and Natt are in an ultralight aircraft, being pursued by pterodactyls, when Tommy gets the idea to fly between two apartment buildings, reasoning that the pterodactyls won't be able to pursue. But then he crashes into one of the buildings.
  • Urine Trouble:
    • In the DC One Million tie-in, Tommy's leg gets peed on by a cat that has been genetically altered to be impossible to kill. Tommy proceeds to kick the cat through the window.
    • An elephant pisses on Tommy in the 43rd issue.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Several times. One comic has a splash page of this, with the credits for the issue being written on Sixpack's puke.
  • Wham Episode: Hitman had been around a bit before getting his own series, and for the bulk of that time, his appearances were played as Black Comedy. Then came the story's second arc, which looks to be playing Tonight, Someone Dies and Black Dude Dies First for all they're worth, with Tommy's best friend he's never mentioned before showing up just in time for a new killer to target Tommy. For three issues, it's played for laughs still, right down to a gratuitous attack of ninja. Then Nat goes to the bathroom... and finds Tommy's best friend, Pat, in the tub, mutilated and bleeding out. It's implied that while Tommy and Nat were engaged in Bloody Hilarious fun these past few issues, the Big Bad was working over Pat the whole time. Tommy tearfully gives a Mercy Kill. The series still has funny moments, but this sets up that Anyone Can Die.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: The annual focuses on a good-old-fashioned treasure hunt; a million dollars stolen in the closing days of the The Wild West and buried in a coffin marked with a dollar sign - in a graveyard with over a thousand others. The local sheriff finds out where it's buried, leaves his own men to be killed by a crime boss while he digs it up... only to discover that it was a million paper dollars, which the robbers had planned to dig up within a month or two. After a century? The sheriff staged a New Old West-style massacre in order to claim a box full of dry, rotten paper. Which Tommy and Natt bury him in.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The "Tommy's Heroes" arc has Skull relentlessly slaughter a baby in front of the mother.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Hacken, in "Zombie Night at Gotham Aquarium," thinks he's in a traditional zombie movie, not a DC Universe "Weird Science run amok" story. It's a subtle distinction, but a costly one for Hacken. He has his hand cut off after he was bitten out of concern that he'd get infected otherwise, but later learns that the virus can't be spread by biting and only affects individuals that are already dead, meaning he had his hand removed for nothing.
  • Your Vampires Suck: The "Dead Man's Land" arc has Tommy fight vampires. It turns out that crucifixes and garlic have no effect on vampires and that they do reflect in mirrors, if the head vampire's boasts are to be believed.

Alternative Title(s): Hitman