Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Welcome Back, Tommy

So my most anticipated comic of 2007 comes out this week. That's saying something, considering the volume of material this industry produces. (I mean you've seen Previews, right? Retailer catalogue and blunt instrument of death in one convenient package...) Anyway, people who know me well might say, "Ken, Dan Slott's Amazing Spider-Man doesn't start shipping this week," to which I would just smile and reply, "I know [insert your mother's name here], but Tommy Monaghan is back in comics."

For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Tommy Monaghan was the star of DC Comics' Hitman, a defunct series written by Garth Ennis and drawn by John McCrea. It ran about the same time as Ennis' signature book Preacher (you may have heard of that one). The latter book got a lot more love than Hitman ever did, probably because Preacher had boobs, f-bombs and no stories guest-starring Green Lantern. But I've always thought Hitman was as good as/better than its big brother. It was the story of Tommy, a cocky, smart-mouthed Gotham City punk who was given super powers (don't ask) and proceeded to hire himself out as a specialized, meta-human assassin, backed up by his crew and buddies. But it was so much more than that meager description. It was Ennis and McCrea's love letter to everything from Hong Kong action movies and Clint Eastwood to zombie flicks, war stories and even -- just once -- Superman. It was sometimes scary, sometimes poignant and always funny. And since the book's cancellation in 2001, I've missed Tommy and his friends. A lot.

But all that changes this week, when the first issue of JLA/Hitman comes out. It's a two-part miniseries where Tommy presumably saves the Justice League from some threat that they can't handle because it can't be punched. And somewhere in it Tommy may use his powers to look at Wonder Woman naked. Again. So what are you waiting for? Read it. If you like it and you haven't already bought it, buy it. It just might convince the bean counters at DC Comics to put all the Hitman trades in print, and then your life will be just a tad bit better for it. I myself have all the single issues, but I want you to have all those stories too. And so would Tommy.

- Ken Ip



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