Garth Ennis may hate superheroes…

November 3rd, 2009 Posted by david brothers

but he writes the best Superman this side of Grant Morrison.


From JLA/Hitman, a two-issue miniseries that came out a couple years back. Words by Ennis, art by McCrea. DC, get to trading the rest of Hitman asap and include this, thanks.

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Black History Month 23: Best Friends, Better Brothers

February 23rd, 2008 Posted by david brothers

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art from dc comics’s hitman. words by garth ennis, art by john mccrea
I call my brother “son” ’cause he shine like one.
–Method Man

Just a quick one today. I’ve got a ridiculous weekend on tap, so I’m gonna have to let the images do the talking for me this time. Sorry! I wanted to go more in-depth on Natt, as I think he’s kind of an awesome character, but time is working against me.

Basically, Natt the Hat is an old friend of Tommy Monaghan’s. They were in Desert Storm together and formed a bond there that lasted for years. When they reconnected, they went into business together. Tommy would get a call for an assassination, he’d call Natt up, and then they’d go kill somebody.

The thing about Natt is that he’s a no-BS kind of guy. He’s very much straight and to the point. If it needs to be done or needs to be said, Natt says it. He’s big on doing what you’re supposed to do, but also in being honest with yourself.

Natt quit cursing when a loved one asked him not to on her deathbed. He went twenty-odd issues without saying a curse word, or at least Ennis’s censored curses. When the SAS came after him and Tommy, he quit quitting. The quitting was an affectation, something he did because it was nice and he was supposed to. But, he recognizes that when you get down to brass tacks, affectations have to go out of the window. You have to be able to do what you need to do to survive.

The scene above shows Natt’s personality perfectly. He calls Tommy on the idea that there’s an honorable hitman. Whether or not you kill cops doesn’t matter– you still pull triggers for a living. Pretending to be anything else is just window dressing. You have to be honest with yourself, and then work your way up from there.

Natt and Tommy are close enough to be brothers. They know each other very well, which is what prompts this scene. It’s a good one, and a good example of the character work Ennis did during Hitman. Yeah, Natt is from the ghettos of Detroit. Yeah, he’s a black dude who uses slang. Yeah, he uses guns for a living.

But, you know what? He’s fully realized. He isn’t a cardboard cutout. He’s got all 360 degrees that good characters have. He’s just as important to the book as the main character, and that’s a wonderful thing.

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Black History Month 15: Detective Tiegel

February 15th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

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art from dc comics’s hitman, #48. words by garth ennis, art by john mccrea
Shorty, I’m there for you anytime you need me
For real girl, it’s me in your world, believe me
Nothin’ make a man feel better than a woman
Queen with a crown that be down for whatever
There are few things that’s forever, my lady
We can make war or make babies

–Method Man, “All I Need” (ain’t that a classic joint right there)

I mean, you, you and these guys who drink here– you’re killers, all of you! …and yet you show more love and care and loyalty for each other than any group of people I’ve ever known. You and Natt are like brothers. You look after the big stupid one, and that thing behind the bar. And Sixpack… I watched Sean last night, sitting with you ’til dawn and tending your wound, and I saw the fear in his eyes…

And “My God,” I thought. “No father ever loved his son more.”
–Deb Tiegel

What’s a ride or die chick? Deborah Tiegel is a perfect example, I think.

Tiegel, or Deb, was a Gotham City cop. Correction: she was a Gotham City cop who was a) female and b) not corrupt. You can imagine how well she got along with the get along/go along types in the GCPD. She made some noise about doing the right thing on the wrong day at the wrong time and caught a suspension, and then firing, for her troubles. She went on to become a zookeeper for a while, until she finally left Gotham City for good.

In between all of this, she met Tommy Monaghan. Originally, they were on opposite sides of the law. Tiegel was chasing him down for his crimes until circumstances forced them to ally. That blossomed into a rocky, but loving, relationship. She slowly began to accept the fact that he killed people for money, though it was a constant source of consternation for her.

Tiegel was kind of our window into Tommy’s world in a way. She illustrated the fact that, yes, these people are murderers. They have killed kind of a lot of people. But, at the same time, they’ve got their own code. They have their own relationships. They are people, not monsters.

Some would see Tiegel as kind of naggy with that sort of thing. But, no– she’s necessary. She keeps the reader grounded, as well as providing some quality relationship drama. Tommy and crew are just barely anti-heroes.

Tiegel serves another purpose, too. She was a cop who only ever wanted to do right. She suddenly finds herself hanging out with guys who kill bad guys, have tons of guns, and live by something of a moral code. She’s in a position to do more right than she ever did with the GCPD.

In the scene above, Tommy’s been stabbed. The first three pages are most of their conversation. The fourth page comes a scene or two later, when the bad guys have found where they’re at and come ready for war. Tommy is out of commission with his wound and all, and Sean Noonan offers his friends a way out. What’s Tiegel do?

She picks up the gun like, “This ain’t no thing.”

It’s like a wise man once said… “All I need in this world of sin, is me and my girlfriend. Down to ride to the bloody end, me and my girlfriend.”

That’s ride or die.

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Garth Ennis Surprised Me Tonight

February 13th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Kathryn McAllister from Hitman and Kathryn O’Brien from Punisher MAX are the same person.

There was a throwaway line in Punisher about Tommy Monaghan, star of Hitman, but I thought it was just Ennis being clever. As it turns out, it was him being even more clever than I thought.

Good show, man. Well played.

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4thletter is for… deception

June 29th, 2007 Posted by david brothers


You ever get the feeling that the wool’s been pulled over your eyes, just a bit?

Garth Ennis is known for a few things. Blood, curse words, comedic facial deformities, sex jokes, a mild hatred of superheroes, and more blood and then a few more curse words. On the good side, he’s a pretty solid plotter, he knows his strengths, he does great dialog, and he’s the best war writer since Kanigher and Kubert.

Just in case you aren’t familiar, he’s written comics where a demon named Baytor becomes master of hell, Nick Fury strangles another dude with his own intestines, an alien sex pervert becomes a British diplomat and gets eaten by a tiger while dressed in a corset with an orange up his butt, a soldier constantly tries to trick his superior officer into kissing him by faking death, a guy gets his nose swapped with his penis and vice versa, an Australian pope has sex with nuns and curses, the Saint of Killers shoots God, a short man with glasses has sex with a giant statue made out of meat, superheroes are depicted as a bunch of people who are completely worthless human beings (and sex perverts), a dude has sex with himself and then shoots himself in the face in front of his son, and– actually, this is a pretty good sampling of the stuff he’s known for. Plus, this is going to completely ruin the search terms on this site.

Anyway, Ennis has got something of a rep. He’s done his fair share of gross-out comics, though it’s usually played for humor. But, I’ve been noticing something in his comics. He keeps sneaking in these little things that make a scary amount of sense. I don’t necessarily agree with Ennis on the religion front, but he makes good points about how to live life. Sexism, racism, whatever– it’s all stupid. It doesn’t matter. Leave it behind and just do right.

The quote up top is from The Boys #8, a series about some humans whose entire job consists of smearing and then beating the snot out of superhumans, who are all sex perverts and callous jerks. We’ve seen a bulldog have sex with another, smaller dog, and a Teen Titans-alike have a screwed up coke orgy. The book opens with a guy swinging around with his girlfriend like they were in a movie, only a superhuman comes crashing down and basically explodes her on impact, leaving the guy holding her severed arms. There’s also a dude who lives below a comic shop who basically calls Will Eisner a punk. And despite all this grisly stuff, you get little scenes like the one in that image up there.

Punisher: The Slavers dealt with white slavers. On the one hand, it’s a wish-fulfillment fantasy. We, the reader, get our revenge on the rapist and slavers of the world through Frank Castle’s actions. He kills quite a lot of them, and the series ends with him lighting a local boss on fire on video, looking into the camera, and saying “Don’t come back here.” He sends the video back to Eastern Europe with one of the allies of the slavers. On the other hand, though, I can’t remember the last time I saw the aftereffects of rape and kidnapping in a comic. One of the cops featured in the story actually quits the force, because she believes she can do more good helping track and assisting the girls who were kidnapped. The last two pages of The Slavers are heartbreaking. You don’t have the full context here, obviously, but I think the pages are worth sharing. Check out the softcover or the hardcover (B&N link) if it catches your interest. The softcover’s like ten bucks, it’s worth it. I cut out the pages where Cristu was burned alive because they aren’t 100% relevant here.

For reference: Viorica lost her daughter to the slavers.

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(words by ennis, art by fernandez)

“All she can do is live with what life they left her.” Ouch.
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Blatant Image Post

February 21st, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Here’s a bit from Garth Ennis’s Hitman where Ennis is doing what he does best: letting his characters talk. I forget the issue and I’m actually leaving for work right after I press “Publish,” but it’s easy to locate online. It’s from the issue with Superman. Perhaps in the 20s or 30s?

It runs into the sidebar, but I’ll fix it when I get home. Tonight. Ugh.



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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Be to Bl

December 30th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Sorry for being a week late. The holidays drained me faster than a three-way with Rogue and Parasite. …Please pretend I didn’t just say that.


Secret Wars II #1 (1985)

We start out with another iffy entry. The Beyonder was present during the first Secret Wars. That’s obvious. It’s just that at no point did he actually appear. That didn’t happen until the horrifying sequel. We know him for his silly disco outfit, but that wasn’t what he originally showed up in.

I like it. We see him talking with the Molecule Man, who tries to explain things to him in a way that is admirably calm and casual. Molecule Man and Volcana send Beyonder on his way as he takes a more subtle form on his quest for experience. This form is of Molecule Man himself. He proceeds to turn a desk into apples, turns a fat television writer into a super-villain and then turns invisible and follows Captain America around for the hell of it.

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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Av to Be

December 10th, 2006 Posted by Gavok


Uncanny X-Men #141 (1981)

Here we go with Avalanche’s first appearance, fighting alongside Mystique and her mutant terrorist squad. He had a scene earlier out of costume where he looked completely generic. It was one of those scenes that makes me wonder if it’s a law that whenever a supervillain team is introduced, all the members need to fight each other over something petty while showing off their powers.

“Nobody calls me that! Now I’m going to hypnotize you into thinking you’re a chicken!”

“Hey, leave him alone, ya creep! Eat heat rays!”

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4l is for… David (and Cassandra) Cain

December 1st, 2006 Posted by david brothers

That’s a pretty fair summary of Bruce Wayne: Murderer, innit?

Anyway, I’m a pretty big fan of Cassandra Cain, former Batgirl, and by extension, her father David. He’s one of the many, many people who trained Bruce Wayne in the way of the Bat and father of Cassandra. He’s the hitman people go to when they want it done right and without the tights. Deathstroke? Sure, fine, he’s the bomb. But, he’s loud, obnoxious, and all of his children are completely crazy. Deadshot? His deathwish makes him take unnecessary risks, and who respects a hitman in a tophat?

I think I’m rambling. Time to ramble in a more productive direction!

Cassandra Cain turned bad OYL. I like the heel turn myself, but a lot of other people don’t. There are a couple of reasons why, but one I’ve heard is that she would never turn evil because she hates her father. That’s one thing I cannot agree with.

I think that both David and Cass love each other. it is definitely a father/daughter-type of love. David definitely loves his daughter. After Batman beats him to a bloody pulp, the only thing he cares about is keeping his tapes of her training in his possession. At one point, he gets involved in a high speed chase away from government agents while carrying those tapes. He watches his “home movies” while drinking in the dark and reminiscing about the old days. At another time, he refuses to kill her when he is hired to. Later, he breaks out of jail to give her a gift. Let’s not even mention the cockamamie insanity that was Bruce Wayne: Murderer.

David Cain is that guy who would look his daughter’s first date in the eye, smile, and inform him that he can put a bullet through a butterfly’s eyeball at twelve hundred yards with one eye closed. Then, he would slide back a secret panel beside the fireplace, revealing the poor kid’s entire family, kidnapped, bound, and gagged.

David: Bring my daughter back by 2200 hours, untouched, or I will feed your father your fingers.
Boy: Uh, yessir
Cassandra: Oh, Dad! :rolleyes:
*canned laughter*

(I would read this comic.)

If anything, I’d say that he has a very genuine, if opportunistic, love for his daughter. She is his biological offpsring who he raised from birth. I think that he originally intended to raise a weapon, but instead, he raised a daughter. A particularly lethal and skilled daughter, but a daughter no less.

I think that Cass loves her father, too. She allows him to escape capture more than once, up until recently, and I think that the fact that he is her father is the only reason why. The problem is, she doesn’t like him very much. She killed a man at eight years old and saw exactly what happens when someone dies. She saw the fear, the hate, and the terror that comes when someone is killed and it wrecked her.

I think it’s important to realize that she wasn’t raised with any sense of right and wrong, beyond “landing punches is right, missing punches is wrong.” She saw death firsthand and was shocked into right and wrong. She realized the upbringing her father gave her was completely, utterly, and if I may be so punny, fatally wrong. So, she left. At, uh, eight years old.

My point is that Cassandra loves her father and he loves her. He raised her for half her life, and it’s kind of clear in early flashbacks that she loved to impress him. She liked having his support and admiration. He liked seeing her turn into the greatest martial artist on the planet.

That was a loving, but abusive, relationship. It’s comic booky, and kind of out there, but it is definitely physical child abuse. Cass knows it and David knows it and it strains their relationship. She doesn’t know if she can forgive him for turning her into a murderer and I feel like he’s feeling pretty guilty about using her.

It’s interesting that when Cass finally gives in to being the ultimate warrior her father raised her to be, her first action is to try to remove him from the field of play. She acts out of spite and hate, but it seems like she’s also playing the role of spurned child. Being Batgirl was taking the high road. It was antithetical to her father’s way of life. It was her way of atoning for her sins. She was Batgirl out of guilt. The new Cass, OYL? Well, the hard way turned out to be too hard for her. She wants revenge.

Deep down, though, I don’t think she actually hates him. She’s lashing out and being selfish, just like a kid would act. She’s Bruce Wayne screaming “I hate you!” at his parents before they died.

I think that the Cass/David relationship could easily hold up to, say, a four issue miniseries. Set it post-Robin, after David gets away from her and the League. Cass goes after her father in a big way. It’ll end with both of them on a burning rooftop, out of ammo, exhausted, and bleeding. So exhausted and broken that they can do nothing but talk. I’m talking serious breakdown-in-tears, heart-to-heart here, but on a burning building in a tropical location.

It ends with the reconciliation that’s been due since Cassandra’s past was first revealed. David Cain and Cassandra Cain finally work through their issues and their past.

Anyway, idle musings.

You know what else would be extraordinarily dope? Cassandra Cain is running the League of Assassins now, right? She offed Nyssa al Ghul?

Well, Talia has a son who may not be too happy that his aunt was killed by the former sidekick of his father.

Damien vs Cassandra. Son of the Bat vs the Greatest Warrior Who Ever Lived? Batboy vs Batgirl? Count me in!

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