Hitman (2) Hitman: Enemy Within by William C. Dietz & Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman by Sebala, Law and Medel

There has been a number of books and graphic novels based on the Hitman universe (the less said about the films the better although I did like Oliphant and Friend as actors just not as 47). With Hitman: Enemy Within the story is based on 47’s employers the ICA and a rival organisation the Puissance Treize. The ICA have given 47 a mission to kill a North African crime lord who is actually quite despicable, you will notice this with nearly all of 47’s contracts in the video games. There’s never an apparent innocent person 47 must dispose of, it’s always someone who is quite sinister in some way although I did have some pity for the Swing King in Blood Money as he’s on his knees before 47 before Agent 47 does his thing.

In Enemy Within 47 has to target this crime lord and the Puissance Treize the rival agency have sent an agent to protect him. This is the unfortunate Cassandra Murphy who meets 47 at the beginning of the book when 47 goes after the head of a biker gang in the states. This first mission in the beginning gives you a taste of what 47 is capable of later on in the story. Along with the main contract there is also some espionage and power plays between the rival agencies hence the name Enemy Within. I would recommend this to anyone even if you aren’t a fan or have no idea of the Hitman games, there’s enough action suspense to impress anyone who has an interest in crime novels or thrillers.

Along with the main story we get to learn about 47’s past as a biologically engineered clone created by the dastardly Dr Ort-Meyer (who we meet in the first Hitman Game), we read about how badly treated he was as a child and as is found out in the games, how he got the name 47. 47 kills his first victim his fellow clone Number 6 who was his bully. His handlers are impressed by this and the rest is history (or so it seems)

Which leads me to want to talk about Birth of the Hitman. Where the story is somewhat different. Birth of the Hitman comes after the release of Hitman (2016) and there has been a revision in 47’s origins.

Turns out he didn’t kill 6 at all. 47 was given an experimental serum that affected his memory making him he killed 6. We learn in Birth of the Hitman that 47 and 6 were quite pally. We also learn about Diana Burnwood, 47’s handler and how she and 47 became part of the ICA. Part of the plot twist at the end of Hitman 2 (2018) was that 47 was one of the paid assassins with 6 of Diana’s family. We see how the stories of these two people would eventually intertwine. I like Birth of The Hitman because along with Enemy Within there is enough action to keep you reading however, unlike Enemy Within I do think Birth of the Hitman is more for the fans.

My only issue with the book and graphic novel is that the game naturally presents 47 much better than the novel and graphic novel can. In the game you get a sense of 47’s presence. How he speaks, how he steaks out his targets. The Hitman games (most of the levels) are not really about the action, they’re about stealth and figuring out how to get to the target or trying to make it look like an accident. This would not really work well with the books so we see the explosions and chases. I also think this is probably why the Hitman films did not quite work. Hitman is not really about the action, it’s about the pre meditation and suspense.

Hitman (1) The Hitman Universe by IO Interactive

Now as you are quite aware, this post isn’t about a book in particular but about a video game series. I thought it would be easier to have this post to set the scene for two books based on the universe in particular that will follow this post. Namely Hitman: Enemy Within by William C. Dietz and Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman a graphic novel by Sebala, Lau and Medel. I thought I would do this post first given the nature of video games and the revisions that have been given to the Hitman story and I like Hitman as a franchise (It’s my blog, I do what I want). As you might have guessed I’m not the best at writing about games I think it would be easier to do it as a video but here goes.

Hitman if you don’t know is a video game series by Danish developers IO Interactive. It follows a hitman with the name Agent 47, his story and the many contracts he has to do in his profession as a member of the International Contracts Agency. He is famous for his suits, his bold head, a barcode tattoo on the back of his head and figuring out different ways of killing his targets. What’s also good about 47 is that he’s cool calm and collected, nowhere near as corny as James Bond or as irritating as an action hero in a bad Hollywood film.

I wanted to look at Hitman from a story line perspective. With notable exceptions video game plots are not really truly groundbreaking, the story is there just to keep the game going. Hitman however has developed a well rounded story. Though not spectacular at first there was enough to peak your interest and the recent Hitman games have really developed the story quite well.

Hitman: Codename 47 (2000) the first game shows us how Hitman was created (essentially he is a genetically engineered clone) going after many targets that have a connection with him, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (2002) we learn about 47’s loyalties and get more of a sense of his personality, in Hitman Contracts (2004) we get to see some of the missions and contracts that 47 had taken in his life and in Hitman: Blood Money (2006) we follow 47 and his handler perform their standard contracts and take on a rival agency and a sinister organisation and in Hitman: Absolution (2012) follows 47 almost entirely in the USA where he turns against undesirable characters in ICA.

The later Hitman games form what is part of the ‘World of Assassination Trilogy’ (only two of them have been released so far) and though it looks at how 47 got into the ICA, we see 47 as the legendary hitman going against shadowy organisations who are using the 47 and ICA to take on each other. What’s more interesting with the later games is that we get more of an understanding of Diana, 47’s handler and her history as well as 47 himself and you get to go some nice locations.

From what I remember as far the the games were as games, Codename 47 was quite good, Silent Assassin was really hard but rewarding, Contracts was a lot like Silent Assassin, Blood Money was really good (although playing it recently, it does feel a little dated but I loved the levels) and Absolution was OK, but not my favourite because I thought it went too far away from what a Hitman game should be (being chased and hiding from the police, trying to kill of sexy assassins dressed as nuns for example).

The as of yet completed World of Assassination Trilogy games however I think are absolutely superb. Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2 (2018) you take on missions with huge levels which include scouting areas and figuring out which are the best ways to hunt your target. If you haven’t played it already, switch the ‘opportunity’ system off, it just makes the game too easy and almost ruins it a little bit. Do your own fact finding. The third of the trilogy as far as I am aware will come out in 2021. A

s we now live in the era of downloadable content there are more optional missions that can be taken and there is also a mission where you get to be a sniper. What I’ve also liked so far is there has been a shorter alternate story as well with Hitman 2 (The Game of The Year addition). The Patient Zero story is interesting in that it is about a killer virus that is contagious and can kill its carriers. That plot line does sound awfully familiar to something from our world, I don’t quite know from where but it does sound like I’ve heard it recently.