Hit-Monkey may be one of the most ridiculous characters to enter a Marvel Comic in recent memory and this week Marvel is releasing the first seven issues of Hit-Monkey’s story (including his origin) and it’s an enlightening experience.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Want to hire a hitman who is also a monkey? Just ask for Hit-Monkey! A troubled soul, set upon a path of vengeance he does not understand. An assassin without equal, trained in the most secret of killing techniques. A flesh-and-blood specter, haunting the worst the world has to off er. He’s a primed-and-ready primate. A simian sharpshooter. A monkey…with a gun! Now, bear witness as he first dons his trademark suit and tie – and the legend of Hit-Monkey is born! Bullets will fly when he takes on Bullseye in a truly unmissable showdown. And when Hit-Monkey hits the big city, he drives Deadpool and Spider-Man bananas! Can Deadpool do what it takes to rid New York of this terrifying new menace – or will he wilt under his anthropoid adversary’s soulful gaze?
Why does this matter?
Considering how this character is used to play up laughs it’s shocking how dark and moody this story is at telling Hit-Monkey’s origin. Don’t be surprised if you change your mind about the character after reading this.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Daniel Way takes something outlandish like a killer monkey and makes it believable and even heartbreaking. This book opens with the one-shot that introduced a hitman who is taken in by monkeys after suffering wounds in an attempted coup. One of the monkeys doesn’t trust him and, you guessed it, he’s the one that ends up being the title character. Through an attack and observation, Hit-Monkey is born and he soon desires revenge. Following this is the three-issue Hit-Monkey arc that features Bullseye chasing Hit-Monkey while the hero attempts to find revenge and get a little bit better at killing. The story is very visual thanks to Dalibor Talajic’s moody pencils. The realism is evident with the environments to the suit Hit-Monkey wears. It helps sell an otherwise silly story and makes this feel like a true-crime story.
Following this is a fun Deadpool/Spider-Man story that introduces the more familiar Hit-Monkey style story with both heroes surprised to see a monkey that can shoot guns from all its appendages. Drawn by Carlo Barberi this story has a more familiar superhero feel and showcases a Hit-Monkey who is all business and established as a killer of killers.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The Deadpool portion of the story doesn’t jive well with the origin of Hit-Monkey thanks to the character appearing only briefly a few times and because it’s a more slapstick rendition too. It makes sense to be collected here since it’s a primer on the character, but it’s also somewhat unnecessary since it’s largely about Spider-Man annoyingly putting up with Deadpool who wants to be best friends.
Is it good?
A good collection that is an enlightening read thanks to the creative and clever storytelling of Daniel Way. Check this out if you’re at all curious why a gun-toting monkey is a character in the Marvel universe, or to see the early creative weirdness of Daniel Way in action.