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Almost Hidden – JLA/Hitman

Even with this large amount of comic books that have been collected in trade paperbacks, there are still a number of great comic books that have never been reprinted (I’d say roughly 60% of them are DC Comics from the 1980s through the mid-1990s). So every day this month I will spotlight a different cool comic book that is only available as a back issue. Here is an archive of the comic books featured so far.

I want you folks to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com with your suggestions for comics that I should feature this month. I’d like to see what you all would like to see get more attention.

I had a number of people ask for me to spotlight the uncollected Hitman issues. These theoretically will all be collected at one point or another, but the JLA/Hitman mini-series will likely be collected last. Written by Garth Ennis and John McCrea, this series took place after the events of the Hitman series (but is a flashback to the days of the Hitman series). So if you don’t want the ending of the Hitman series ruined, stop reading now!

Otherwise…

Enjoy!

Okay, so Tommy Monaghan, the hitman who starred in the comic Hitman, died in the last issue of Hitman.

JLA/Hitman is the untold story of how Tommy helped the JLA on a mission, as told by Clark Kent.

Tommy gained superpowers from aliens during the Bloodlines crossover, and over the years Ennis told stories where Tommy interacted with Batman, Green Lantern and, most famously, Superman (where Tommy and Superman have a rooftop heart-to-heart where Tommy helps reaffirm Superman’s faith in both himself and humanity in general).

So when the Bloodlines aliens (or worse, EVOLVED Bloodlines aliens) return, Batman knows who they can turn to for information about the aliens…

Once on the JLA’s moon headquarters, Batman is irked to learn that Green Lantern actually teamed up with Hitman…

The news really shakes Superman, and we see more of that in the second issue.

The big twist at the end of the first issue is that the aliens somehow jam the powers of the JLA (including Green Lantern’s power ring) while Superman is on their hijacked NASA shuttle.

So at the beginning of the next issue, the JLA is powerless against the aliens, who we see have taken control of the astronauts…

That’s some spooky stuff, huh?

Hitman responds the only way he knows how…

I love that line.

And once Batman is taken out of the picture…

then Tommy is actually the next most capable member of the JLA after Wonder Woman, so the JLA sort of NEEDS his help.

So Tommy and the remaining league members fight the aliens. Meanwhile, the President of the United States has ordered a nuclear strike on the Watchtower because the JLA have been neutralized, so they are working under some heavy duty time constraints.

And when Superman shows up with a parasite attached to HIM? Well, things look bad.

The series ends with an incredibly poignant tribute to Tommy from Superman. Go find these issues to go see it! This was a strong two issues.

24 Comments

Garth Ennis is, and always will be, a hack. COntrived malarkey just to make his precious Mary Sue look good.

They’ve announced volumes 5 and 6. (December and April, respectively.) Volume 5 will include not only ‘Who Dares Wins’ (the previous volume 5) but also ‘Tommy’s Heroes’ as well as the shorter stories from 34 (Superman!), 35-36 (Tommy’s dad), and one million. Volume 6, ‘For Tomorrow’, takes the series through to, I believe, issue 50. [I do wish that one million was in ‘For Tomorrow’, just because it fits the title, and it would thus bookend the book, which ends with issue 50, which is a “looking back on Hitman from the future” story as well.]

Based on that, it seems as if they’re publishing super-big editions, and we can safely assume volume 7 will be the last, collecting the Sixpack arc, “Closing Time”, and JLA/Hitman. Hopefully, it will also include the Superman/Sixpack story, and, hey, maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll throw in Hitman/Lobo (though, story-wise, that belongs in the 20’s somewhere, and publication-wise, I believe it was in the ’40’s).

To me this was not only one of the best Hitman stories but also one of the best Superman stories because of the narration by Superman where Superman acknowledges Tommy’s courage and Batman’s naivete in regards to killing.

I enjoyed this two-parter just as I enjoyed the Hitman run.

I wish Ennis/McCrea would do some more untold stories of Hitman.

Love the callback to the first time Tommy & Bats interacted.

ITS OKAY, THEY’RE SET TO STUN!

DC, hurry the hell up and collect this whole classic run.

Dude, Batman, you teamed up with the Joker. And Ra’s al Ghul. On multiple occasions.

Cool story arc, like… John McCrea was even kind enough to autograph it for my wife, even… Although it almost cost me a punch to the face… Hahahah… ><

Muy Bueno!!

Great stuff . . . except for the insinuation that Kyle got fanny-raped by Bueno Excellente.

Brian, if you want to go the extra mile, how about going through the issues that Tommy was in outside his title that will probably never be collected? If I remember correctly, that includes two arcs in The Demon, issues of Sovereign Seven and Azrael (in that one, I found that Tommy doesn’t know how to drive, something I never thought about in his own book), and the two-issue story in Resurrection Man that ends with Tommy powering Mitch Shelley up by repeatedly shooting him in the head.

loved how batman has a hissy fit over tommy including when he learns kyle hung out with him. plus screaming to tommy stop shooting. wish dc would hurry up and reprint this even in a new hitman trade. not to mention love batman saying its fine if tommy pees his pants.

randypan the goatboy

August 22, 2011 at 11:47 am

i have to admit given ennis obvious disregard for superheroes, this story looks really good. I cant belive i missed this storyline considering how big of a fan i am of {some] of garth Ennis work. Not to mention that the big 7 of the JLA was always the best lineup.

This was just a fabulous two-parter, and it SHOULD be reprinted…somewhere. Poor Kyle. Ennis always seems to do terrible things to Kyle.

But it’s nice to know that Tommy’s little…um…memorial, is still out there, on the moon.

I really liked this story, with the exception of how Kyle was treated. Ennis really didn’t seem to like the character! But overall, great book.

The funny thing is that it doesn’t seem to be a special reason for Ennis treating Kyle like that. In one of his interviews on CBR, he said that Kyle was just one of those characters that he treated like crap when he got the chance to write him.

He wasn’t that good to Wally in this issue either. Flash comes off as a dick for most of the story.

I really like Garth Ennis, but that’s one aspect of his writing that I get tired of in a hurry.

I like JLA/Hitman well enough; the stuff at the very end is really good…but overall, it pales in comparison to the main series.

I know Ennis things that Green Lantern is the epitome of the superhero goofiness that he hates so that could play in to it. He’d probably put Hal through the wringer if he was GL at the time but with Kyle being a rookie it leaves him open to more ridicule.

randypan the goatboy

August 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm

not everything ennis has created is golden either. It just comes off as childish to treat someone elses work as crap just because you can. i guess if worse comes to worse kyle was never suckin a dude off for smack.maybe i shouldnt give him any ideas. he always could get one of the next set of books that replace one of the many victims during the opening salvo of operation drive down the market shares…all leading up to part four of the crisis trilogy…Crisis 4 the apology

“The funny thing is that it doesn’t seem to be a special reason for Ennis treating Kyle like that.”

The story as far as I heard it is that he considers the Green Lantern (in general) to be the most ridiculous name, and to a certain extent just a ridiculous character in general because he has a magic ring that can do anything. But the story is that he and his mates were in a pub trying to come up with names that were more ridiculous than Green Lantern and Steve Dillon said “Dog-welder” and that’s where that character came from.

“Brian, if you want to go the extra mile, how about going through the issues that Tommy was in outside his title that will probably never be collected? ”

The first ‘Demon’ story-arc with Tommy (besides the Annual) is nothing special, but the second one sets up a lot of stuff that comes up in ‘Ace of Killers’. I think that it’s also the story that features the first appearance of a Gotham police officer named Tiegel… only she’s white!

This story was excellent, regardless of how protective people want to get over certain characters.

This story was excellent, regardless of how protective people want to get over certain characters.

Who are you talking about? Everyone, even the people in this comments section pointing out how he treated certain characters, has already agreed with you and said the same thing, that the story was still excellent regardless. I don’t see anyone acting so “protective” of characters that they’re claiming the story isn’t excellent.

I assume you mean other than the very first response, T.

I’m a little surprised…only the first comment is the usual CBR fare of “kill the heretic who dares to write good comics”. Rest of the commenters seemed to have realized that a joke is a joke. Superheroes are inherently silly: Ennis is the only person in the business who seems to realize this. He tends to take the joke too far (I, at least, have very little patience for The Boys), but calling someone a hack because they don’t worship your personal underwear-on-top idol is just stupid.

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