This week, something amazing happened. John McCrea and Garth Ennis returned to their classic comic book Hitman and brought us All-Star Section 8. It’s hands down the best super hero comic ever.
In order to properly understand the incredibleness of this comic book, you need to read Hitman (of no relation to the video game series of the same name. It ran for sixty issues between 1996 and 2001. Its strongest suit wasn’t the gratuitous violence or the crude humour, but its likable characters who were all deeply flawed in their own way. Among the people who either were or willingly associated with contract killers were.
- Tommy Monaghan, a perpetually broke killer in a green trench coat who got super powers that he never uses because they cause terrible headaches. He’s the titular Hitman
- Hacken, another serial killer, dumb as a brick, who amputated his own hand as he thought he was infected by zombies. He wasn’t.
- Natt the Hat, friend of Tommy’s with a weight problem. Always wears the same hat.
- Sickpack, alcoholic who may or may not be delusional about being a super hero. Frequently encounters villains who have bladder and bowel control powers
- Baytor, the demon overlord of criminal insanity. He works as a barkeeper at Tommy’s favourite bar, Noonan’s
This just to name a few. They’re all fantastic characters, even down to Baytor who mostly ever says I AM BAYTOR but still manages to be a loyal and true friend to these underdogs that frequent Noonan’s. Apart from being one of my all-time favourite comic books, Hitman is also one of the few comic books that ever brought me close to tears.
This week, the world of Tommy Monaghan came back in the form of All-Star Section 8, which is Sickpack’s super hero team. They’re the greatest heroes the world has ever seen. If The Avengers would make love to the Justice League and had a kid, that kid would still not be half as awesome as Section 8. Why, you ask?
#5: Section 8 – The Members
Super hero comic books have this thing where everyone needs a certain power set to even be able to play. This is known as the Flying Brick. Super Strength, Super Speed, Flight and invulnerability. Before a hero has these powers, they can just stay home because apparently, writers don’t know what to do with characters who don’t have these attributes. Not one member of Section Eight has these powers.
In fact, its roster is a thing of beauty and weirdness.
- Sixpack, the leader. His main power is apparently beer goggles. He wields the powerful dual broken bottles that he rams in people’s faces
- Flemgem. He spits at people. That’s it.
- Defenestrator. Throws people out of windows. In case he has to do battle on the ground floor, he carries a window with him at all times
- Friendly Fire. The only member of Section Eight who’s actually got super powers. He can shoot powerful energy blasts. However, he can only fire them at everything he’s not aiming at
- Jean de Baton. Monosyllabic Frenchman who hits things with a stick known as the Jean de Baton baton.
- Dogwelder. He welds dead dogs to people.
- Shakes. He shakes and stutters uncontrollably.
- Bueno Excellente. His is the power of all perversion
A team of heroes with that power set can’t possibly make for bad super hero comics.
#4 – Batman
Because Section Eight operates out of a Gotham City neighbourhood named The Cauldron, they frequently run into Batman or The Dark Knight runs into them. Whenever that happens, Batman is tested to his limits. Not because Section Eight picks fight with him but because they won’t. They’re a good team at heart and they want to help.
A man regularly dealing with Flying Bricks has no idea what to do with those guys.
#3 – I AM BAYTOR!
#2 – The All-New Section Eight
Most of the members of Section Eight are dead. But when a Crisis came, Sixpack put together a new team. They’re worthy successors to the original team. They appear just as deranged, yet strangely lovable as the original group. They are…
- Dogwelder II. Apparently there’s more people who weld dogs to people.
- Bueno Excellente. As long as perversion exists, he will live.
- Guts. Internal organs who somehow live outside a human body band want to be a super hero. Unsurprisingly the object of Bueno Excellente’s affection.
- Powertool. He can’t see as the face plate of his helmet is equipped with a power drill
- The Grapplah. A man with a grappling hooks and a tendency to inform his victims that he is The Grapplah
- BAYTORO. Mysterious member of the new Section Eight.
- Sickpack. Still leading his men into the good fight
- Batman. Eighth member of Section Eight. Batman has not been informed of his membership.
#1 – They Save the World
If you think they’re comically incompetent and that they’re only there for comic relief. You’re wrong. When Section Eight goes into battle, comic book readers witness true bravery, true stupidity and true compassion. We feel for these people who are beyond salvation but can’t help themselves. The stakes are high when they fight reality endangering mouths from an alternate dimension because nobody else would. Because they are threatened. They’re mortal, they’re so very deeply flawed and hopeless. But they’re not giving up. They are Section Eight!