Characters : Hitman
The Hitman was an extraordinary combatant with conventional military weaponry or in hand-to-hand; he was easily the equal of the Punisher in these areas, and managed to shoot Spider-Man despite the latter's danger sense and superhuman agility. He was also a superb marksman, and was unflappable in armed combat.
He used flares and electronic tracers. The Hitman also employed exotic devices from time to time, such as his mini-helicopter and jet-powered motorcycle. He was apparently based in a private jet outfitted with surveillance devices and a database, much like the Punisher's Battle Van.
The Hitman made a good Punisher opponent, but unfortunately most Punisher foes don't come back.
He carried a small arsenal of weaponry on his person, including handguns, rifles, automatic weapons, gas and concussion grenades.
Lieutenant in the U.S. Army; later assassin, mercenary
Saved Frank Castle's life when they were both in Vietnam; former member of the U.S. Army; former employee of "Boss" Morgan; former employee of the People's Liberation Front
Doesn't have one, he's dead
Spider-Man; Punisher; the Vulture I (Adrian Toomes); J. Jonah Jameson
New York City
(Amazing Spider-Man #175, flashback) - In Vietnam, Marine Frank Castle was badly injured by a Viet Cong explosive, and surrounded by the enemy. However, Lieutenant Burt Kenyon calmly appeared, gunned down the Viet Cong, and dragged Castle to safety. Kenyon told Castle that he now owed him a life. Two months later, Kenyon was declared mentally unfit for service and discharged. (Behind the Scenes) - After Castle became the vigilante Punisher, the underworld hired and outfitted Kenyon as a sort of opposite number to the vigilante. Kenyon became a high-priced hitman and mercenary.
In Spectacular Spider-Man #4. After his protection racket and his offer of recruitment were violently rejected by the Vulture, a humiliated "Boss" Morgan hired the Hitman in vengeance. Seeing television reports that the Vulture had lured Spider-Man into battle, Morgan instructed the Hitman to humiliate the Vulture in return by killing Spider-Man before he could. The Hitman interrupted the battle between the Vulture and Spider-Man, announced his intentions, and was promptly assaulted by the Vulture. Spider-Man took the opportunity to briefly fight and thus gauge the Hitman, and then fled. The Hitman was forced to deal with the Vulture using a gas grenade, allowing Spider-Man to escape.
However, the Hitman had planted tracers on both the Vulture and Spider-Man. The Hitman soon found and attacked the Vulture, leading the criminal on a chase that took them near Spider-Man's location (Peter Parker's apartment). Drawn outside by the sounds of the battle, Spider-Man found himself in an aerial battle with the Vulture, with the Hitman taking potshots at him the whole time. Finally, as Spider-Man and the Vulture battled near a radio tower, Spider-Man feigned weakness and left himself dangling from a webline. As he expected, the Hitman couldn't resist teasing the swooping Vulture until the very last moment, and thus by turning at the last moment Spider-Man allowed the Hitman's shot to strike the Vulture's power pack, defeating him. The Hitman himself fled the scene, and Spider-Man determined to give the Hitman's tracer to the Punisher in hopes of tracking him down.
In Amazing Spider-Man #174 - Some months later, the Punisher, apparently looking for the Hitman, found himself battling a terrorist group called the People's Liberation Front.
(The People's Liberation Front and its unnamed leader were essentially just radical terrorists. The members were fanatically devoted to their nebulousleftist cause, as was the leader. They carried automatic weapons, but were no match for either the Punisher or Spider-Man in combat. They were created by Len Wein, Ross Andru, Jim Mooney and Tony DeZuniga.)
Meanwhile, the PLF's leader hired the Hitman to kidnap and kill J. Jonah Jameson, who had been writing a series of damaging editorials about the group. Despite the Punisher's surveillance, the Hitman managed to slip into Jameson's office, confronting the publisher and his lover Marla Madison. Madison managed to run on the Daily Bugle's intercom system, broadcasting the Hitman's threats to the entire office. This drew Spider-Man and the Punisher into the office, but the two broke in simultaneously, and between the resulting confusion and the cramped confines of the office, the Punisher was unable to reach the Hitman as the latter battled Spider-Man. The fray also brought the Bugle's security guards running, and the Hitman used the confusion to drop a gas grenade and head for the roof. Spider-Man was able to follow him, and the two continued fighting, tossing Jameson back and forth as they did so. Finally, the Hitman overcame Spider-Man (whose arm was injured from a recent battle with the Molten Man) and loaded Jameson aboard his mini-copter. The Punisher finally made it to the rooftop, was recognized as Castle by the Hitman, and exchanged gunfire with Kenyon, but Spider-Man feared the Punisher would kill Jameson accidentally and stopped him. Spidey managed to plant a spider-tracer on the Hitman's copter, and he and the Punisher fled the Bugle's security troops to pursue the Hitman.
After the Punisher explained his link with the Hitman, the two crimefighters beat information out of some PLF goons, and thus learned that the Hitman, Jameson, and the PLF's leader were headed for the Statue of Liberty. The PLF planned to blow up the statue with Jameson in it as some kind of symbolic gesture. However, Spider-Man and the Punisher appeared and routed the PLF forces. When the PLF leader tried to blow the statue up with everyone on it, the Hitman gunned him down and tried to escape. Spider-Man destroyed his mini-copter, but was left so groggy that the Hitman was able to shoot him in the arm, throwing him off the statue's crown. The Punisher and the Hitman found themselves in a standoff, with Kenyon using Jameson as a human shield. Before anything could happen, Spider-Man made his way back to the crown and pulled Jameson away from the Hitman. The Punisher blasted the Hitman, leaving him dangling from the crown, as were Spider-Man and Jameson. Forced to choose between saving the injured Spider-Man and Jameson or Kenyon, the Punisher chose Spider-Man. Kenyon told the Punisher that though Castle owed him a life, that life didn't have to be Kenyon's, and then allowed himself to fall to his death.
Clarifications: The Hitman is not to be confused with:
Hitman, Jimmy Pierce, a boxer who tried to become the next Punisher, @ Punisher II #87
Hitmaker, a foe of Wonder Man, @Wonder Man Annual #1
|Mar 1977||App: Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #4|
|Apr 1977||App: Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #5|
|Nov 1977||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #174|
|Dec 1977||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #175|
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Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.