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Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer

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This is an antagonist sent to kill (or capture) protagonist(s) with the following traits:

The difficulties involved in getting such incredible commitment from Hired Guns may or may not be addressed. Often a Hero Killer.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Book 
  • The Man in Black from the Farscape comics, who is The Faceless and The Voiceless for the first few story arcs. He's trying to kill Deke, Crichton and Aeryn's newborn son.
  • Toyota the ninja from Y: The Last Man, with the twist that she eventually gets more characterization and rather than a stoic, silent ninja, turns out to be a huge bitch and Arrogant Ninjitsu Chick.

  • Boba Fett from Star Wars. He talks very little and wears a concealing suit of armor. Was mysterious in the original films, but dozens of novels, the prequel trilogy, and his own series killed much of his mystique.
  • The unnamed Psycho Ex-Girlfriend from The Blues Brothers played by Carrie Fisher qualifies in method, if not in profession.
  • Angel Eyes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. "Trouble is when I'm paid, I always see my job through to the end..."
    • It's not the protagonists he pursues, it's poor Bill Carson. But other than that...
    • Angel Eyes' expy, Colonel Günther Reza of A Fistful of Dynamite is what happens when one of these guys joins the regular army. He's a Silent Antagonist and Implacable Man who pursues Juan Miranda and Sean Mallory relentlessly on behalf of the governor, and the Huerta regime.
  • The Coen brothers gave us Leonard Smalls (the "Lone Biker of the Apocalypse") in Raising Arizona and Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men.
  • Joe Lefors in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. So mysterious, he's never even properly seen in the film. Butch and Sundance see him once from a distance of a mile or more, then later on see someone they assume is him from behind, although it's not clear if it's really Lefors or just paranoia on their part. When Butch and Sundance were at night and planted a diversion for Lefor's men to split up and so trick them, they fall... for almost a minute. Then they resume their persecution. Those guys were scary.
    • You can also tell it's Joe Lefors because he always wears a white straw hat.
  • The assassin sent to get Jack Carter in Get Carter. He has very little dialogue with Cyril Kinnear at the near end and is distinguished only by his signet ring, inscribed with a J.
  • Dragan, the assassin hired by Serbian mobsters in Layer Cake. Seen only briefly at the end, he tracks the protagonist through almost the entire film and is always a step ahead.
  • Mr. Shush, a taciturn hitman sent to kill Jimmy the Saint's gang in Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead.
  • The Man in Black was this to the three bandits who kidnapped Buttercup in The Princess Bride.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier has the titular villain. Black Widow is clearly shown to fear him due to a previous encounter, and commented that most of the intelligence community doesn't believe he even exists. He's attributed with over two dozen assassinations in the last fifty years, most of which are implied to have had a great amount of political influence, especially with the Cold War. Described as a "ghost," literally no one knows who he is or where he came from — until Steve saw his face and realized he was Bucky.
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction, like Transformers: Animated (see below), has Lockdown, who has arrived on Earth to capture Optimus Prime for unknown employers (whom we never see). He's ludicrously strong, fast and agile, managing to injure Optimus pretty badly, and is able to fight him on even terms. Before the film has even begun, he's been helping to hunt down what's left of the Autobot forces on Earth, and very nearly killed Optimus in an ambush. He's not even interested in the war, or the reasons the Autobots are being hunted, he's just there for Optimus, and once he gets him, makes plans to leave and get his money.

  • The unnamed magic-resistant mercenary in The Bartimaeus Trilogy.
    • His name is revealed in the final book, although only mentioned once: Verroq
  • Pie'O'Pah of Imajica initially seems like one of these, but turns out to be more complex. He winds up as the Love Interest.
  • Robert Asprin's Myth series book Little Myth Marker has a variant; Skeeve is being hunted by a mysterious character assassin that nobody has ever seen, named The Ax.

    Live Action TV 
  • Keamy in Lost
    • Ilana appears to be this at first, a determined Action Girl hired to bring Sayid to Guam to answer for the murder of Peter Avellino. While she remains mysterious, she turns out to have a personal motive very different from that.
  • The Cousins in Breaking Bad are two sharkskin-suited professional killers who wield a deadly axe and target the main character for assassination until his boss, who is their associate, intervenes.
  • Chronos, the temporal bounty hunter in Legends of Tomorrow who is sent by the Time Masters to stop the Legends. He wears face- and voice-masking armour and is badass enough to take on all the Legends at once. He's eventually revealed to be the Future Badass version of Heatwave (aka Pyromaniac and thief Mick Rory), one of the Legends who was — or would be, from the Legends' perspective — marooned and left for dead by the team. After being found by the Time Masters and trained as their bounty hunter, Heatwave is out for revenge, particularly against his ex-partner Captain Cold.

    Video Games 
  • Inverted in Mirror's Edge: The "white guy" is a mercenary assassin, is both faceless and voiceless and wears the signature white suit and mask and turns out to be a woman. However he's trying to get away from Faith who is quite the determinator in pursuit and doesn't get the hint to leave things be.
  • Kanon in Wild ARMs 2 is introduced this way.
    • Chelle in Wild ARMs XF' begins this way, but her motives are revealed as the game goes on.
  • The Jackal from Illusion of Gaia chases Kara throughout the game, but only shows up near the end and is quickly dispatched by a hidden booby trap.
  • Zagi from Tales of Vesperia chases you though out the entire game, gets stronger every time, and will not die.
  • Pison in The 7th Saga. He comes back (twice!) after you beat him the first time, each time getting tougher, and with more special attacks.
  • Born an Expy of Bobba Fett, Solo from the Strider series is a Bounty Hunter paid by the Big Bad to kill Hiryu. He wears an all-concealing Powered Armor whose visor makes him The Faceless and tends to take things personal once he's finally defeated by Hiryu, always returning in one of the final stages in search of a rematch.
  • Dark Souls II has a foe called the Pursuer. The Pursuer hunts the Bearer of the Curse relentlessly — the item descriptions of his sword and shield hint that he does it to atone for his own sins. To reinforce this, he is first seen being carried by a giant crow, with crows being the symbol of Velka the Goddess of Sin. And there's more than one Pursuer.

    Web Animation 
  • The Leet World's Domination Guy. Gives up the pursuit, and even helps the protagonists, after a Defeat Means Friendship / Worthy Opponent moment with Cortez. Is eventually killed by his employer for his trouble.
  • Wyoming from Red vs. Blue.
    • Also, Spencer Porkensenson, though he is more of a subversive parody of this trope.


    Western Animation 
  • Scorcher from Adventure Time. Once the Ice King figures out what a hitman actually does, he attempts pay him off and fight him, but Scorcher takes none of it until he is convinced Finn and Jake are dead.
  • The third season of Avatar: The Last Airbender introduces a silent assassin only known as "Combustion Man" (which Sokka coined after his earlier suggestion of "Sparky Sparky Boom Man" didn't quite catch on). Combustion Man is best known for his distinctive Firebending technique of creating explosions by projecting concentrated heat from a Power Tattoo on his forehead. Zuko hires him early in the season, then eventually cancels the mission and offers to double the payment if Combustion Man stops, but Combustion Man keeps going anyway.
  • Adventures of the Gummi Bears: A Clint Eastwood Expy hunted the Gummi Bears.
  • In Aladdin: The Series the Muhktar is first introduced as this, a mysterious, caped figure relentlessly hunting Genie.
  • Lockdown of Transformers: Animated fame, though he's more talkative than most. What can he say, he loves his work.

    Real Life 
  • Xanthippus. He was a mercenary Spartan general hired by the Carthaginians to fight Rome in the First Punic War. He trained their soldiers, corrected flaws in their battle strategy, and routed the Romans while capturing their consul. It was apparently the only battle he fought before sailing home to Lacedaemon.