As Marvel Studios continue to dominate the cinema with their universe of characters, and DC/Warner Bros seems to be having a more problematic time capturing the imagination of the masses, we thought we’d lend a hand by pitching them a movie version of one of their most original, complex and sometimes hilarious cult-favorite titles — Hitman. If you’re not familiar with the character or series (shame on you), immediately RUN to your local comic shop and buy the trades (you can thank us later), but in the meantime, allow us to give you a brief primer on the series.
In 1993 DC Comics attempted to introduce a plethora of new characters to their Universe company-wide “event” called Bloodlines. For the most part, this experiment was an abysmal failure, as virtually none of the new heroes spawned out of the plot line — which saw a race of aliens attack the DCU, leaving some of their victims imbued with super powers — survived the event with much longevity, save for one… Tommy Monaghan, a low-level hitman left with the powers of X-Ray vision and (moderate) telepathy.
Created by Irish-born writer Garth Ennis (creator of Vertigo’s Preacher series) and artist John McCrea (longtime Ennis collaborator), the character of Tommy Monaghan proved to be popular enough with fans that DC gave him his own series which lasted a full 60 issues, plus an Annual and a JLA/Hitman two-part miniseries. The publisher also gave Ennis free-reign over the character, his supporting cast, and a the small, lower-class Irish district of Gotham City they inhabited called The Cauldron, leaving Ennis the freedom to play within the continuity of the DCU on his own twisted level. The result was a unique series, unlike any before or after, that had everything from Tommy’s first meeting with Batman (he pukes on Batman’s boots) to a heartwarming issue that featured a 22-page morality debate between Tommy and Superman on the roof of Noonan’s Bar, Monaghan’s local watering hole, interspersed with the personal struggle of a hitman who only accepts contracts on criminals.
Tommy Monaghan (Jon Hamm) – We’d open the movie with Tommy chasing a familiar green-haired/white-skinned bad guy through the rooftops of the Cauldron, because A) it’s awesome and B) we’re sick of superhero origin movies. The chase ends with Tommy’s gun pressed to the temple of the Clown Prince of Crime, but before he can pull the trigger, forever ridding the world of one mass murderer, he’s knocked off his feet by the Dark Knight (Christian Bale in a special cameo). The Joker manages to escape in the scuffle between Batman and Tommy that follows. Monaghan isn’t so lucky, until Batman delivers a gut punch that doubles Tommy over, causing him to lose his lunch all over Batman’s boots. Embarrassed that he just puked all over his personal hero, Tommy heads to Noonan’s Bar to drink his cares away with his motley crew of regulars:
Pat and Sean Noonan (Jimmy Fallon and Brian Denehy) – Bar owner “Uncle” Sean Noonan is a father figure to both Tommy and his nephew Pat. Pat and Tommy grew up together – the first time Tommy killed someone was to save Pat’s life. However they’re grown apart in recent years, mostly due to Tommy’s friendship with his army buddy Natt the Hat.
Ringo Chen (Daniel Dae Kim) – A Chinese immigrant who became known as the “fastest shot in Gotham” amongst his fellow killers-for-hire. He is better at the job than most, often paid more than any other hitman. Ringo and Tommy have an ongoing friendly rivalry, but share a mutual respect that keep them more friends than enemies.
Hacken (Ryback) – Built like a tank with brains the size of a pebble, Hacken is as stupid as he is dangerous. His puppy-dog loyalty to the Noonan’s crew makes him a powerful ally for Tommy to rely on when things get rough in the final act of the movie.
Six Pack (Charlie Day) – Sidney Speck is a drunken, wreck who wears a piss-stained costume and calls himself Six Pack. On his more lucid days he rambles on about his heroic battles with supervillains, to the delight of his buddies.
Baytor (CGI) – The monosyllabic Demon Lord of Madness tends the bar at Noonan’s, having been discovered on one of Tommy’s previous adventures (we’re shown Baytor’s bizarre introduction to the group in flashback), and mostly only speaks his own name — “I AM BAYTOR” — with varying degrees of emotional cadence.
Deborah Tiegel (Rosario Dawson) – Former GCPD detective who has the misfortune of falling in love with Tommy before realizing he’s a professional killer. They meet on the rooftop at the opening of the film as she’s chasing after the Joker.
Natt The Hat (Reggie Watts) – None closer than his old friend Natt. Natt grew up in the bad parts of Gotham (are there good parts?) and enlisted in the military to escape. He and Tommy met while serving a couple terms together in the Persian Gulf War. It was during the war (that we see in flashback) that they accidentally killed a group of British S.A.S soldiers mistaken for Iraqi soldiers. Those S.A.S. soldiers were under the command of…
Sergeant Eddie Baker (Daniel Craig) – Baker and his remaining soldiers (Captain Page, Plug, and Whitey) have finally tracked down Tommy and Natt. We see them scope out the bar as Natt and Tommy escort a very drunk Pat Noonan back to his apartment. Once Pat is alone Baker and his men sneak in, murder Pat and leave him in his bathtub for Tommy to discover.
Tommy does in fact discover the body of his friend, but instead of realizing it was a message left by the rogue SAS agents, he believes it to be a sign of war from local Mafia Boss…
Mens Room Louie (Abe Vigoda) – Ancient. Never not sitting on a toilet. He commands his whole empire from a porcelain throne, and though he does hate Tommy (very, very much), he isn’t the one who ordered the hit on Pat. Unfortunately, he doesn’t live long enough to plead his case as Tommy, Natt, and Ringo Chen hit his headquarters hard, leaving no one alive in their wake.
Meanwhile Sergeant Baker and his crew continue their assault on Tommy’s personal life, attacking Noonan’s Bar. After a skirmish that leaves Six Pack badly hurt, Hacken is left to wonder on the fate of Sean Noonan, as Baker and crew kidnap the man most important to Tommy.
And so our final act consists of a race to rescue Sean Noonan and end this blood feud with the AWOL soldiers once and for all. Nat, Tommy, Hacken, Chen and even Tiegel take out everything that stands between them and the final showdown. After a spectacular shootout and a brutal fist fight, Tommy is victorious over Baker and saves Sean. We close out back in the bar, the gang’s all there, even Six Pack, who is revealed to be alive and drunk as ever, finally telling a story of courage that they know to be true.
Post-Credits Scene: A dark alleyway. At the end of the darkness we see the spark of a blowtorch and HEAR the yelp of an injured dog. Suddenly a figure steps into the light, he clutches a terrified-looking puppy. Wearing a welder’s mask and a blowtorch…THE DOGWELDER HAS ARRIVED IN THE CAULDRON!
Shawn DePasquale loves a lot of comics, but Hitman most of all. He can be found on twitter @shawnwrites if you want to discuss favorite Hitman moments and/or potential plotlines for sequel films.