Cover art from Hitman #53 by John McCrea

Hitman is a comic series about a super-powered Irish-American contract killer set in DC Comics' Gotham City, written by Garth Ennis and primarily drawn by John McCrea. Violent, irreverent towards the superheroes of the DC Universe who occasionally intrude, characterised by humour by turns black and silly and marked by Ennis's sentimental examinations of relationships between men under fire, it ran for 60 issues between 1996 and 2001. A number of specials were also published, the most recent a two-part JLA-Hitman teamup in 2007.

The main character, Tommy Monaghan, was introduced in 1993 during Ennis and McCrea's run on DC's The Demon. The Demon Annual #2 was part of the "Bloodlines" event, in which encounters with alien invaders gave characters super-powers. Monaghan was attacked by an alien while preparing for a hit, and found the encounter had given him x-ray vision (along with featureless black eyes) and the ability to read people's minds. He appeared in two further Demon storylines ("Hell's Hitman", The Demon #42-45, and "Suffer the Children", The Demon 52-54) before the series was cancelled in 1995.

He got his own series in 1996, along with a more focused role - a hitman who takes superhuman contracts - and an ethical dimension - he doesn't shoot "good guys". He also gained a supporting cast. Based at Noonan's Sleazy Bar in the Cauldron, the Irish-American district of Gotham City, Tommy's crew included Sean Noonan, a retired hitman, owner of the bar and Tommy's mentor and father-figure; Pat Noonan, Sean's nephew and Tommy's childhood friend; Ringo Chen, a Chinese hitman who is Tommy's only serious rival; and Hacken, an idiot wannabe-hitman who imagines himself to be Ringo's partner. Natt "the Hat" Walls, an African-American hitman from Detroit who Tommy knows from their days in the US Marines, was introduced as Tommy's partner shortly afterwards, and Deborah Tiegel, an incorruptible police officer forced out by corrupt superiors, became Tommy's love interest, despite her moral revulsion at his profession.

Despite the first storyline involving Tommy being hired to kill the Joker, the "superhuman contracts" angle was downplayed as the series went on. Important antagonists included Agent Truman, a CIA man trying to control superheroes for the government; Men's Room Louie Feretta, godfather of the Gotham mob; and a group of British SAS soldiers who came to Gotham to kill Tommy and Natt in revenge for a "friendly fire" incident they were involved in as Marines during the Gulf War. In the second half of the series most of the supporting cast were killed off one-by-one, as the inevitable consequences of a violent line of work caught up with them. Finally, Tommy and Natt went out in blaze of glory.

Every issue of the regular series was drawn by John McCrea, with the exception of one issue drawn by Steve Pugh. McCrea inked his own pencils for the first twenty issues, and thereafter was inked by Garry Leach, spelled occasionally by Pugh and Andrew Chiu. One annual was published in 1997. The story, "A Coffin Full of Dollars", was a contemporary western drawn by Carlos Ezquerra and Steve Pugh. Hitman #1,000,000, drawn by McCrea, was a special published to tie in the "DC 1,000,000" event in 1998, in which Tommy was transported into the 853rd century by a group of students who wanted to use their technology to appropriate his powers. In 2000, DC published Hitman/Lobo: That Stupid Bastich, drawn by Doug Mahnke, in which Tommy is targeted by, and outwits DC's alien bounty hunter. Most recently, Tommy appeared in the two-part JLA/Hitman miniseries in 2007, drawn by McCrea.


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