Do you really need to know anything else?
Apparently, Marvel fans need to know a lot more about what makes Hit-Monkey so awesome. After his amusing appearance in Deadpool and his hit one-shot origin story, the character is getting his own three-issue mini-series beginning in July.
Announced in Chicago on Friday the Hit-Monkey Returns! mini will be written by the character's creator, Daniel Way, with art by Dalibor Talijic, who established Hit-Monkey's dapper look in the character's one-shot.
Newsarama talked to Way about the furry assassin and what story we'll see in Hit-Monkey Returns!.
Newsarama: Daniel, were you surprised by how much readers loved that one issue of Hit-Monkey you did?
Daniel Way: You know, I'd love to say I totally knew it was going to be a hit. But I didn't. I liked it, and I thought it would be cool for an audience of one. [laughs] But it's satisfying that the character has kind of taken off, and that fans have supported it.
But no, I didn't see this one coming.
Nrama: There's always the chance we have someone reading this article that hasn't read anything with Hit-Monkey in it, so in your own words, who is Hit-Monkey?
Way: There will be a quick recap of his origin at the beginning of the mini-series because it picks up immediately following that. It takes place after his origin story, but before the Deadpool story. We're going to fill in the blanks of what happened in between.
But Hit-Monkey is a Japanese macaque who lives with a tribe of other Japanese macaques high in the Japanese mountains among some hot springs. A political assassin was on the run after having been betrayed by his employers, and he ended up at these hot springs after he was wounded. So Hit-Monkey's tribe brings the assassin in.
Hit-Monkey was the only one in his tribe to recognize what the assassin was, and what kind of trouble he was bringing into their community. His prophecy came true when the bad guys came looking for the assassin and killed him. But the reason Hit-Monkey was able to recognize what the assassin was is because he saw some of himself in him.
So when the assassin was killed, Hit-Monkey was compelled to pick up the gun to continue the assassin's work, in part for revenge because when the assassin was killed, so was the rest of the tribe.
But what we work on in this story is that his quest for vengeance also spills over into the outside world, away from this sheltered area that he's always lived in.
The question is, "Is the world ready for Hit-Monkey?"
Nrama: What's the story you'll be telling in this series?
Way: Hit-Monkey is kind of haunted by the spirit of the nameless assassin, and we see him a lot. We also hear him speaking. The assassin says in the origin story that he will live on, after he makes eye contact with Hit-Monkey. So Hit-Monkey picks up where the assassin left off, and when I say he's haunted by the spirit, it's not a nice thing that's happening. It torments him.
It adds fuel to the fire for Hit-Monkey, and it also provides a narrative. Hit-Monkey's actions and motivations will be telegraphed to the readers via the spirit's speaking, who's pushing him toward revenge.
But is it Hit-Monkey's revenge? Or is it the assassin's? And that's when things get out of control.
Nrama: Will he encounter other Marvel characters?
Way: Yes, he will. But I won't say who yet. It's a character I've written before and I really enjoy writing. I don't want to give any clues because it's probably pretty obvious at this point.
Nrama: Somebody with really good aim?
Way: Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty good guess.
Nrama: Is there any hope for Hit-Monkey having any love interests?
Way: That's part of the tragedy of the character, and why he has that hurt look on his face all the time. A Hit-Monkey is a pretty unique thing. So what are the chances of him finding some other monkey that has anything in common with him? And that plays into the tragedy.
It's that old story, you know, that you can never go home again. That's where he is. He's no longer just a monkey. He's something else.
Nrama: Where exactly did the idea for Hit-Monkey come from?
Way: I saw a picture online and just kind of went with it. And what's funny now, and maybe it's just because I've been spending a lot of time writing Japanese macaques, but I've seen a lot of commercials coming out lately, even during the Super Bowl, using Japanese macaques. I think we're bringing the monkey back. I don't think it's a coincidence that there are these macaques showing up. I think we started something here.
Nrama: What's so unique about this is that it was played so straight. Were you tempted to put jokes in there, or did you know it would be effective to just write a serious story and let the humor be implied by the situation of a monkey being a hit man?
Way: I think the premise is so much of a joke that I didn't see the need to take it any further. It's a visual joke. There was no need to put anything on top of it. My thinking was that if I ran with it straight, then it wouldn't come off as a complete joke. The character is more compelling if he's presented as a real threat, as a real antagonist for Deadpool to actually be afraid of.
Nrama: Did Dalibor do original designs of Hit-Monkey? He did the origin issue and he's doing this mini-series, so he's really owned this character, hasn't he?
Way: I think Frank Cho was the first one who actually turned in a piece with Hit-Monkey. He did a cover. Or maybe it was Jason Pearson, but we had to fix that one, because he gave him a tail. Macaques don't have those. But it was pretty straightforward. It's a Japanese macaque in a black suit and a tie with a gun.
But now, Dalibor has definitely taken it up several notches. The guy is just a tremendous artist and a great storyteller. [Editor] Axel Alonso has a very good eye for artists, but he has an extremely good eye for Croation artists. And he understands the joke. It's like how anybody can read a joke, but not many people can tell a joke. Dalibor gets it.
Nrama: And then the story itself is a three-issue story, but is it left kind of open for more stories?
Way: Well, I'm obviously not going to kill him off. [laughs] We know he eventually makes it into the story in Deadpool. He's out there and he's hunting down these killers. So what we're seeing in this story is these first little monkey steps on that path of vengeance.