A Classic Hit

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He looked at them. Bodies drenched in pools of blood. The red liquid was so thick, it looked almost as if they were floating on top.

Lifeless faces. Such an odd sight when you’re looking at your own. An eerie, cold feeling.

Clean, sterile environment pillaged with mutilated bodies. The odor of chemicals turned into an even fouler stench of corpses.

What a sight to behold.

He remained quiet. Not calm, mind you, but he wasn’t eager to exhibit his inner self. He stood silent as the last of the gurgling and yelping slowly faded and finally stopped. Only then, he put down the gun.

What was that feeling again? Anger? Hatred? Indifference? Coldness? Alienation? Woe?

For now it was confusion. Then it was dismay. Stepping through the blood pools, his feet crossing his own corpses’. Not one. Not two. But dozens. All with only a single detail to differentiate. And at the end there was Him. The self-proclaimed God Himself. Begging for his mercy.

47 was woken up by a soft voice whispering into his ear. Her distinct British accent brought a new feeling to the mixture. Comfort. Or, at least, some minuscule form of it.

“It’s time. He’ll be approaching from the west.”

He said nothing and yet she trusted he heard her loud and clear. She knew he’s not a talkative type. And she was okay with that. Nothing more infuriating than an agent babbling all the time. Waste of precious minutes. Too big of a risk. Their long term success was tied to their mutual trust. Both of them were aware of that fact.

He wasn’t happy about napping for so long but it was better to be rested than to sit here the whole night doing nothing. His sleep was shallow to begin with. Even the softest of sounds could wake him. Both a curse and a blessing, given his profession.

47 stood up, dusted off his jacket and fixed his red silk tie. Black leather gloves gave nice warmth to his hands in an otherwise chilly environment. An attic of an olden church wasn’t the coziest of bedrooms but it was a safe one. A wooden wobbly chair was his bedding this time. To his right, a small inconspicuous briefcase stood firmly on the stained floor. To his left a faint light was bouncing off a polished silver handgun. The appropriately nicknamed Silverballer gave 47 a sense of reassurance, staying awake whilst his owner was sleeping.

A quick glance at his wristwatch reaffirmed that it was, indeed, the time to strike. 47 put the weapon back into the holster and instead, grabbed the handle of the briefcase. Given its contents – it was fairly light and the briefcase itself didn’t add much weight due to the materials it was made out of. Costly little thing but useful. And he could afford hundreds if not thousands of them.

He looked out of the window, stared at the Marian column in front of Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. His female companion pointed out that the target will be arriving from the west – meaning from the back of the building he was in. This meant he had to travel further up to get a more convenient view on the situation. He had to climb the bell tower.

47 knew the basilica’s blueprints by heart. He just had to put this knowledge to the test. Entering the church last evening was easy. Perhaps too easy, even by his standards. Sneaking in and traversing the restricted areas during a highly populated mass was always a risk but he was skilled enough to judge how attentive people around him really are. He spent the night here. Falling in and out of sleep. Always looking behind his back even when his eyes were closed. And the Silverballer was there to aid in need. Churches felt more safe somehow. Even though, in reality, there was no difference.

He crossed the tiny and dirty attic, reached for the wobbly handle, still somehow staying inside of the rotting wooden door, and exited to a short corridor with a ladder leading up to the bell tower.

“You there, 47?” sounded a voice in his ear. She seemed uneasy. He looked around and whispered:

“What’s happening?”

Despite lowering his voice, it still echoed down the empty corridor.

“He arrived much earlier than we’ve anticipated. His car just left the Palazzo. He’ll be there in twenty three minutes. Can you make it?”

He had no choice but to make it and the situation looked likely as his feet were starting to climb the ladder. He wished he could just nod but alas, his female companion would not see the gesture. Thus, he let out a slight hum in return.

Getting up to the bell tower was a task simplified by how light his luggage was. A cold wind hit his bald head and he shivered as he lifted himself to the final steps of the ladder. The morning was chill. The sun still hasn’t given any proper warmth even though it was already making its way through the thick white clouds. The wind was a concern. But 47 knew how to work with it. Years of experience, childhood spent on intense training.

Anger. Indifference. Woe.

Went through his mind once again and immediately left, leaving only traces of confusion.

He closed his eyes for a second and took a deep breath calming himself down and feeling for the weather. He kneeled to put down the briefcase. His fingers swiftly entered a three-digit code and the locks burst open. Another of his deadly friends embraced in red velvet. 47 began to assemble it.

After a while, his black leather entwined hands were holding an almost meter-long rifle with a wooden frame and stock. A telescopic sight and a silencer were a must in bright daylight. 47 stood up. A cold wind blew in his face once again, his tie swirling in the breeze. A tower like this could be used in various ways. They were perfect for snipers but 47 also had experienced a couple of “accidental” falls. It was never a pretty sight. A human being turning into a twisting set of limbs once it hits the ground. A panicked face. It was better when they didn’t fall head first. A cracked skull couldn’t hold the bloodied mush anymore.

His mind was full of images like these. Not shocking. Not anymore and not to him. Unless the body was his own. The face was his…

Not much time left. None for contemplating the past. He still had to figure out the best spot to take the shot.

As if reading his mind, his female companion spoke up:

“I’m following him on the map, 47. You have approximately seven minutes left.”

Then the GPS proved handy after all…

The streets of Rome were lively. The sight helped him see paper cups of coffee in hands of many people heading to work on foot and bouncing heads of those spending their time behind the wheel listening to music. A large crowd was moving towards Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore. Easily distinguished due to their bright yellow caps. Most of the group was short. Meaning children. Maybe a school field trip. He noticed a few hands raising to point out the face of the clock on the bell tower he was currently inside of. Could they see him though? They were hundreds of meters away…

Another thought came through his mind instead and accompanying it was a set of conflicting emotions.

A group of children. Looking just alike from this distance and a handful of adults giving directions. An ironic familiarity. There was no way they won’t see the events unfolding in the next five minutes. 47 knew exactly what those will be. A red Audi will enter the area. Park next to the Marian column. A brown-haired tall man with a scar across his brow will slowly exit the vehicle. He will be limping. An aftermath of a failed assassination years ago. A slip. The attacker was killed during the mission. The target left with a bullet in his thigh.

This piece of lead didn’t encumber his driving skills. And a vivid-colored car just appeared in the corner of 47’s view. Yellow caps, a light gray column, a bright red car. Soon met with a dark, almost brown shade of blood. A color so deep it looked black in the moonlight. 47 saw the image in his mind already. The children were about to see it. There was nothing he could do to avoid it.

Indifference. Alienation. Regret?

“He’s approaching the Piazza.”

He set up the rifle.

“I see him.”

The tour guide was carrying a leaflet. He stopped to make sure they were heading the correct way. They were. 47 knew it. And he wasn’t happy knowing there are going to be witnesses.

The Audi stopped by the column at exactly 9:42 AM. The radio stopped playing once the engine turned off. The driver took off his glasses, put them on the dashboard. Took a glance at his smartphone. Maybe curious of the time? His hand opened the door, and he exited the vehicle. A brown-haired man with a scar across his brow. Wearing a light blue shirt, gray pants and semi-formal shoes. He took a step. Limping slightly. Another step. Foot didn’t meet with the ground. He faltered. Then fell. A bloodied mush spilled on the window of the Audi. Red splattered on red. A lifeless body dropped next to the vehicle.

Soon enough, the shirt was drenched in thick blood. Yellow caps spread and began fleeing the area. The guide hopelessly trying to keep them close to each other. Panicked screams. Genuine fear. An eerie, cold feeling.

He remained quiet. Not calm, mind you. But what were those emotions again?…

A holy place desecrated by a disfigured dead man and his brains spilled next to the Marian column.

What a sight to behold.

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47, 6 and their baffling adventures #2

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Poetic justice is, according to issue number two of Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman, “a fiction where the good succeed and the wicked are punished”, the poetic part being “how the punishment is delivered. You take a thing important to a man. And you beat him to death with it.” And even though 47 asks 6 if that’s a metaphor, it might as well be as that’s exactly how I feel after reading the second part of their adventures.

Last time, we concluded that A47:BotH (ugh) is neither logical, unique nor interesting. Issue no. 2 picks up where the first one left with 47 and 6 going on their globetrotting journey and Diana Burnwood being a girl with a tough life. This time, we also get to meet Savi – a completely over the top and not akin to the rest of the Hitman universe woman who takes the role of Diana’s mentor and a few targets who end up dead sooner than I can even turn the pages to write their names down. All of it in a neat little package bringing to mind the Hitman movies instead of the Hitman games. If you’re a fan of the franchise, this is probably enough for you to never bother with this tie-in ever again.

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White’s face when they have to express their opinion on the comic.

Unfortunately, as the Hitman Lore Expert, it is my duty to at least give these things a try. And as much as I attempt to not be prejudiced against it, this may end up happening for the rest of the comic. I began this journey with no expectations and even was pleasantly surprised when reading some of Chris Sebela’s previous work as research. Last month, my analysis of the first issue was surprisingly dry and void of obvious anger and despair – something a lot of you expected, as you’ve later expressed. It’s not that I wasn’t bothered by retcons and new ideas, so prominent that they almost felt forced. I was merely disappointed and tired of it happening. After all, how many times can you come to the same conclusion?

I had even less expectations towards issue number two, if that’s even possible. As I was reading it however, I found myself genuinely cowering and the return of “…what?” is now official. That’s the best explanation I can give and the best picture of my reactions I can draw. So let’s run through the twenty-or-so pages of content and see what brought White to the boiling point…

Since the story itself starts with Diana, let’s put her in the spotlight first. The poor girl continues her quest for revenge* with a lust to find her parents’ killers*. As said desire keeps being repeated on and on throughout the story, I genuinely await her getting a hold of a bat costume at some point in time, especially since Sevi mentions “there’s no reason [she] should look savage in the process”. Ending people’s lives in classy suits was already established by Mr. 47, thank you very much.

As is with all “great” mentors, she puts her through various tests with no proper warning*. This means Diana suddenly gets attacked* by a bunch of muscles stolen from 80’s beat ‘em up games and somehow magically knows how to handle a car at high speed without any previous experience behind the wheel. Besides coaching her, the black-haired woman also keeps referring to her per “little bird” which honestly makes me not only uncomfortable, as she appears significantly older than the teenager, but also bewildered. I hope this doesn’t mean anything more than just a quirk in her speech, albeit I wouldn’t be surprised about either of the options as she’s such a shallow character otherwise. There are a few lines indicating she has some sort of a background but it doesn’t get explained just yet and she immediately changes the topic in the next sentence.

Being her only hope*, Diana follows her lead, skips school (this means she has transformed into a troubled individual already!) and fires a whole array of diverse emotions towards a Blue Seed employee who she might end up either murdering or not as it sort of cliffhangers at this point. If I can point out one inspiration this story took from H6, it would be its incompetent practice of the ending mystery. Also, Blue Seed is the company behind Diana’s brother’s illness, if you don’t remember. I wouldn’t blame you. The name was dropped only a handful of times.

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I’d compare them to Hannibal and Will Graham, especially with the “curious to see what happens” thing but that would be a crime.

On the other side of the coin, we have 47 and 6. Their arc involves traveling the world and killing men. They go from Sweden to Pripyat as the text boxes attempt to give reasoning for massacring Soviet officers*. If Hitman was about being a silent assassin, I see more of that in Diana’s portion of the comic rather than 47’s. Every mission ends up being a bloodbath and not just by client’s request (as 6 states is the case in the Soviet Union) but because that’s what 47 considers proper. His understanding is that it somehow means freedom and just as his “brother”, I don’t get it either.

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No, it won’t.

On the subject of targets, I’m surprised and very disappointed that missions themselves take only a few pages. The whole meat of H6 were the stories hidden within each level. Assembling the target background out of puzzle pieces scattered in the game world was one of the most interesting parts of the entire game and one of the only I genuinely enjoyed. The developers took their time to leave breadcrumbs for the player to follow if they wanted to learn who 47’s targets are and it resulted in such amazing characters as Jasper Knight, Silvio Caruso or even Ezra Berg if he was fleshed out. Completely dropping that concept for a clichéd and shallow story is mindboggling for yours truly. It’s supposed to be a H6 tie-in after all, isn’t it?

In the meantime, we also get a tiny insight into the… Institute… and a typical morning. A nurse comes by, hands everyone a pill* and gets on her merry way. Not checking if the subjects actually take their medication. Even more-so, Ort-Meyer apparently trusts his children completely as 47 has a whole stash of the drug in his room’s drawer. You would think trained killers, each costing an unimaginable amount of money would be held on a tight leash, but no. They can walk out willy-nilly and aren’t controlled in the slightest. I guess Providence doesn’t care that much. Another perplexing concept is the fact that 6 somehow not only gets his hands on contracts from outside Ort-Meyer’s range of operations but also continues his plan to take the Institute down. …Which then gets completely shattered by 47’s idea of “freedom” and “fun”.

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It feels like it though…

And thus, we should somehow come to a conclusion for this obviously very tired-sounding piece. Yes, even I can see that this is me saying “please end this already” in 1,162 words and counting. With the announcement of the Hitman TV series, I – the Hitman Lore Expert – am honestly just done with watering down my beloved franchise and what made me love it in the first place – the lore and the story. The current state of it made me forget the reasons as to why I created such long writings on the original lore and why I was so passionate about getting the community into it, too. If the entire mystery of the Romanian facility can be explained with a simple pill, maybe the inspiration wasn’t drawn from Hitman but from Kane & Lynch instead, and maybe I will be willing to talk about my gripes with the concept if I ever decide I want to drag my feet through the four hour campaign of Dog Days ever again.

For now, though, I find A47:BotH (ugh) as shallow and uninspired as it can get and I fail to see how this very specific and niche product might be targeted towards the story-loving freaks of the Hitman community. You would think I’d be the prime audience for it but alas, that isn’t the case. There’s nothing poetic nor justified about it. Change the title, drop the names, sell it as its own story. Maybe once it can stop being compared to the already established beautifully mysterious original lore, it can at least be a fun mindless tale to read on the way to work.

*cliché

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…what?
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Different From The Best

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– Originally written in Polish, in 2011, translated in 2017 –

Doctor Kovacs’ shoes were making a distinct sound as he was walking across the impressively big hall. The room seemed colder than usual. The wooden floor, polished fifteen minutes ago by one of Kovacs’ pupils, was so shiny that a small boy could see the reflection of his bald head when he looked down.

The doctor was nervous. He reached the wall, turned on his heel, stared briefly at the double entrance door and began walking towards it. He didn’t know what to expect. Even though he and his colleague were working together for a long time now, he never managed to guess what goes on inside of his head. A textbook example of a mad scientist. Nothing would surprise Kovacs anymore. The scientist could even kill him right here and now and make all of these children watch the act. Honestly, that would not even be that unlikely the more Kovacs was thinking about it.

Beside him, inside the hall were twenty kids. They all stood neatly in line, at a perfectly measured distance from each other. This painted a quite unnerving image not only because they were all standing up straight with their heads up. All of the kids looked the same.

Not even clothes were differentiating them. They were all six-year-old boys with bald heads and ice blue eyes. All had serial numbers tattoo’d on the back of the head – their only unique gift and the only way Kovacs could tell them apart. Thus, their order in line was determined by their order of “birth”.

Today, two groups were present. Kids numbered 2 to 12 and 37 to 47. One of them sneaked into a doctor’s office the night prior. Even though he used his skills and chances in the best of ways, the ever present cameras captured him in the act. Albeit, the quality of the recording wasn’t good enough to determine which of the boys was the culprit. The staff facility wouldn’t even know an incident like this happened if not for an unfortunate event. 18 heard a strange noise during his late night bathroom break and his curiosity was “rewarded” with a broken nose. Kovacs found him unconscious, lying on the corridor floor and that’s what led to this very situation.

Another man dressed in a white lab coat entered the hall. A pair of circle-shaped glasses was digging into his nose but it didn’t seem to bother him. Kovacs stopped, cleared his throat and suddenly, all of the boys bowed down. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer usually smiled at seeing his pupils so well-behaved but even this gesture didn’t make him lift the edges of his lips today.

“Enough!” he exclaimed. His voiced echoed through the hall. Kids returned to their original position. The scientist stood next to his colleague and, even though in English, spoke with a heavy German accent:

“You know exactly why you’re here. None of you will leave this hall until the culprit admits to his nighttime escapade.”

Twenty pairs of blue eyes turned in his direction. Nineteen of them only learned about the incident ten minutes ago. One felt his stomach twisting. As much as he didn’t want to come clean, he knew he will eventually be forced to. What kind of punishment will he have to endure? Swiping and licking the floors clean for months with no end? Will there be any corporal punishments? Maybe he will be this year’s cook for his “brothers”?

“One of you attempted to access doctor Ort-Meyer’s office at night”, Kovacs said in a calm manner trying to contrast the obvious anger of his colleague. “We do not care what was the reason behind it. And we will not question it. If one of you admits to his mistake, there will be no investigation and no punishment. We will only ask him to never do it ever again.”

Tears started filling one of the boys’ eyes so he blinked a few times to make them go away. Showing any emotions was unacceptable. They were a weakness, so the men taught them. The boy always felt as if hiding those weaknesses was much easier for his “brothers” than it was for him.

Many thoughts were crossing his mind at the moment. Was Kovacs telling the truth? Maybe there really aren’t going to be any questions or punishments if he confesses? He didn’t trust either of the men in white coats but Kovacs seemed to be somewhat reasonable at times. Maybe he should just swallow his pride and speak up?

“We all know who did this!” yelled one of the boys at the front of the line. 6 took a step forward and looked Ort-Meyer straight in the eyes. He already seemed triumphant with his chin held up.

The culprit felt even more ill. 6 had no idea who truly sneaked into Ort-Meyer’s office but since he spoke up already, there was no doubt whom he is going to blame.

“It was 47, of course!” he promptly stated. Ort-Meyer’s eyes looked at the boy at the end of the line.

“Come forward”, the scientist said. “Is that true?”

The boy gulped down his tears and broke the line. His small hands turned into fists thinking of 6. His heart was filled with hatred towards his “brother”. But now, he was assessing his options. If he denied the claim, 6 would definitely find a way to shift the blame. He was the best. The strongest. He knew how to fight. Ort-Meyer will stand by his side. And 47? 47 was small, slim and fragile. With tears in his eyes. The only thing he could count on was Kovacs’ good will.

“Yes”, he mumbled. All of his “brothers’” eyes turned towards him. It was uncommon for 47 to open his mouth. Some thought he was mute. This reaction made the boy feel even worse.

“I should just dispose of you at instant. Kovacs turns a blind eye at you way too often. But trust me, my boy, your life is going to get much more difficult from now on.”

47 tried his best to justify.

“But… doctor Kovacs said no one will get punished if one of us confesses… I… I thought that–”

“What did you say?” Ort-Meyer interrupted him. The hall was suddenly silent. “Repeat what you just said.”

“I thought that…”

The scientist chuckled making Kovacs’ hair stand on end. Ort-Meyer took a few steps and stood in front of 47. Kovacs wasn’t sure if there’s anything he can do to protect the boy. He almost wanted to grab his colleague by the arm as he was passing him but ended up not even moving a finger.

“You ‘thought’”.

It was Ort-Meyer who lifted his hand instead. His palm hit 47’s cheek painting it bright pink and making the unsuspecting boy falter and fall to the floor.

“You know very well I don’t need you to ‘think’. Your purpose is to act on my order. And that’s to all of you. I allow you for too much freedom. Remember that you can lose your white fluffy friend just as quickly as you got it.”

47 tried getting up but was too scared to move a muscle. Ort-Meyer stared at him for the very last time and the boy was sure there was a certain sense of pride hidden behind the circle-shaped glasses.

“Kovacs, take him to his room and lock the door. Up his training sessions to at least twice what they are now. He won’t have time to ‘think’”, the scientist said angrily to the other man dressed in white before exiting the hall altogether.

His evil chuckling was still heard echoing the hall after he has left.

47, 6 and a number of inconsistencies #1

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After the weirdly quiet announcement back in August, a brief confirmation weeks later, a period of complete silence, and a delayed release, it’s finally here! Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman – an origin story set in 1985. A treat for all of the Hitman fans, or so it would seem, if not for the fact that there have been multiple attempts of telling said origin story. In Codename 47, we were told the tale as it was, which led to the fallout in Silent Assassin. In Contracts, we came back to the Romanian facility, seen via 47’s point of view. Both of the Hitman novels tried their take on the concept of “young 47”, Absolution mirrored the possible upbringing by introducing Victoria and telling her tale. Not just that, we also got an insight into the ICA files and could read all about both 47 and Diana before they both began working for the Agency. I don’t believe I have to mention H6’s Prologue but I’ll give you a nice bit of trivia instead – a short video series called Hitman: Origins does exist and, what do you know, it’s actually done in a graphic novel aesthetic. Knowing all that, it’s difficult to look at the new origin story in a vacuum, especially since it attempts to bring even more to the already full table. That’s ignoring the movies ‘cause… let’s just ignore the movies… What we can’t ignore is the previously established lore as Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman clearly plays into that with a major character of the series being present. Honestly, if not for a certain German scientist, I’d be okay to just deem this a completely different take on the story, maybe even use the scary word “reboot”. ‘Cause apparently no one else can bear those mere six letters…

I ain’t the biggest comic book fan. I don’t follow series, but I read a few in my days. My own upbringing reminds me a lot of the Donald Duck comic books and W.I.T.C.H. paperbacks and later on I’ve become quite partial to the Batman universe. Still, maybe it’s the culture of the place I reside, graphic novels never seemed to catch on, at least in my personal experience, thus me having to catch up. As I cannot speak as comic book enthusiast, my opinion will be solely reliant on the fact that I’m quite a big Hitman lore nerd… and honestly, that’s the position people want me to speak from…

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Back in my days…

The first issue of Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman (can we settle for some shorter name like we did with HITMAN? A47BotH?… that… looks weird… We can’t call it Agent 47. That would be confusing… Birth of the Hitman sounds a tiny bit too pretentious… I guess I’ll have to keep using the mouthful…) isn’t a very long read and it only sets up the bigger picture. Considering there are only three issues planned, I’m a bit surprised not much has happened in the introduction, especially as I don’t really see the point of it being presented to me visually.

Our main characters are… our main characters – 47 and Diana, just back in 1985 when they’re 21 and 13 respectively (although in one of the first scenes Diana states she’s 14, so I’m slightly confused already… according to the pre-Absolution promo materials she was born in 1972). A secondary character to 47’s side of the story is 6, (Not Enemy Within 6… I think… ‘Cause Enemy Within 6 is dead…) whom he’s having his adventures with. Surprisingly, those take place outside the Romanian facility, even though occurrences like these were never mentioned before. Not even in Ort-Meyer’s diary which seemed to inspire at least one of the plot points.

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Told you it’s going to get confusing…

Whilst 47 and 6 are having their grand old time and discussing their purpose in life in the process, we witness Diana Burnwood getting her life destroyed and slowly rebuilt after her parents’ deaths. A series of unfortunate events (told in a few sentences) led Diana’s brother to get seriously ill, a pharmaceutical company blamed for his sickness, Diana’s parents investigating the situation and thus becoming targets for knowing too much. The girl managed to survive and realizes she now has to care for herself. Which she does in a very violent way.

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How does “HHRAAAAHH” sound with a British accent?

So what is happening on the other side of the coin? Exactly what I already said – 47 and 6 follow their assignments all around the world whilst discussing the meaning of their creation. 47 seems to be quite talkative outside the facility, as the clones are not permitted to talk to each other inside. But if they aren’t supposed to, why does Ort-Meyer specifically state 47 is uncommunicative in his diary? There is also a mention of their escape and the incident at the farm to link all of it to H6 as well as their plans to take vengeance on the Institute in the end.

Wait, the Institute, you ask? This isn’t Fallout 4! No, it is not and this is where the pretty picture starts to get ugly. Remember how I said it is difficult to look at A47:BotH (…ugh…) in a vacuum when there’s already so much established lore? This is where it gets tricky. Retroactively adding more plot points completely changes some of the characters’ motivations and thus makes their behavior a lot less relatable, not to mention logical and forget about unique or interesting.

In the original lore, Doctor Ort-Meyer and his legionnaire friends decided on experimenting with human life due to their extreme greed and lust for power. The four great criminals who gave their DNA and funds to the process wanted their own armies, full of perfect human beings to rule their respective little criminal empires. The scientist himself got so involved in playing God, he believed he was better than that. Better than even the aforementioned God. Without the need for his friends, his ultimate goal was to get them killed and establish his own perfect minions. Ideal warriors with no free will.

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EVERYTHING’S BEEN LINKED TO THIS ORGANIZATION WE ONLY HEARD ABOUT IN THE 6TH GAME!

This picture changes now, when new details are added. You may call it a minor detail but even one brush stroke can ruin a grand painting. What we learn in the comic is that Ort-Meyer isn’t working for himself. There is no mention of the French Foreign Legion, instead we get The Institute of Human Betterment (liking the mouthfuls?) being presumably owned by Providence. You know, that mysterious wannabe Illuminati organization in H6. Thus, the main motivation for the professor’s actions and his predominant character trait is now reduced to him simply being a tool in someone’s hands. His Codename 47 monologue barely makes sense now as it states he accomplished all of this by himself with no one to believe in him and how he was setting new standards. All of that feels as if it’s gone now with him working for somebody else completely contrary to the behavior he previously portrayed.

Same could be said about Diana Burnwood. Here though, I was personally more interested in how her backstory will (or will not) link to the pre-Absolution promo materials as the old school titles (and thus, the old writing team) never gave us much insight into her private life. She was always in the background, and while obviously caring for 47, she never ceased her professional demeanor. This also made her a truly intriguing character in an already hostile world as we never got to know whether she’s loyal to 47 or to the Agency. She seemed to pick sides when they fit her ultimate goals. Never pursuing 47 after Codename 47 but going out of her way to save him in Contracts and Blood Money. Absolution marked the beginning of what I like to call the “new writing team era” thus I’d expect everything after that to at least be consistent. Therefore, let’s whip out the Diana Burnwood ICA Files Absolution Trailer and see what we can learn.

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The “apparently not Burnwood family photo”.

Diana Penelope Burnwood was born in September 1972 as a daughter of Sir Peter Lloyd Burnwood and Lady Nancy Burnwood. The files do mention her brother James and a younger sister Emma. Funnily enough, we also get some dates which are a complete mismatch to what the comic establishes. Not only is Diana’s mother presumably alive and remarried, her father died in 1987, James’ whereabouts are unknown and Emma died at the age of 27. We can deem the family photo irrelevant too as there is a new one present on page 14 of the comic. Not only is Diana’s natural hair color is now red, Emma is nowhere to be seen. My Consistency Theory has not only been denied, it’s been thrown out of the window with a loud cry. It also makes my lore expert role a lot trickier.

New idea is that Diana’s parents were killed. Presumably even as targets of one of 47 and 6’s assignments although the story is a bit vague on that front. Forget about the actually interesting, resolute and always composed ICA handler. She’s simply witnessed the death of her parents and with nothing left to lose, she turns to a life of crime. After such life experiences, we should never wonder why she hasn’t shown even the tiniest shred of empathy towards her later assignments featuring a complete wreck of a man Joseph Clarence and eliminating Vinnie Sinistra during his daughter’s birthday party. There are no more mindtwisters as to why she decided to join the ICA. In fact, it’s even more mind boggling that she ends up working with professional killers after her parents’ deaths at the hands of hired guns…

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#relatable

In fact, her story arc reminds me of another Christopher Sebela character. Heartthrob’s Callie Boudreau completely changes her life and becomes a criminal after she realizes she has nothing left to lose. Albeit she does so in quite unique circumstances with an unusual partner and an 80’s aesthetic. She also goes through her adventure wondering about life and death and how experiences shape us. At this point, I should mention that I actually do enjoy the writing of A47:BotH (ugh!…) but that’s because after reading some of Chris Sebela’s previous work as research for this piece, I got to truly enjoy his writing style and it’s simply more of that. The theme of life and death, the purpose of living and so on are the emphasis of the Hitman franchise but those also seem to be the ongoing motives in the author’s work so there’s not much I could really comment upon except for maybe giving a thumbs up for the choice of the writer. Especially since Mr. Sebela himself is a fan of the latest installment of the series. A quick look at the credits is enough to show us (maybe unfortunately) the story is not entirely his own.

We are left with only one more character to analyze and that’s Mr. 47 himself. You’d probably think I’d have a lot to say considering it took me months to produce a huge analysis of his character but to be honest, there’s not much to cover here. The white bunny returns, but we learn it’s not the same bunny as the one in Ort-Meyer’s diary. In fact, it’s one of many, deeming the original bunny somewhat less of a nuisance now. I actually do enjoy how 47 states he is scared of his work becoming more than his profession albeit I doubt he would confess it to the scientist himself. There is also a case of sudden almost teenage rebel-like outburst towards 6 with lines such as “What makes you think I wanted to be saved? You’re not even my real brother,” and this peculiar scene:

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The return of “…what?”

In conclusion, the theme of H6 has now been proven to be inserting more and more plot points into the already existing lore and hoping they work and no one will question any of it or look at it as a bigger picture. I’m not particularly interested in how the comic’s storyline is going to play out. In fact, I’m eager to see if any of it is even going to end up relevant in H6’s Season 2. We now see major events happening in the past and it would only be logical if those were cited somewhere in the game. Otherwise, players might get even more confused about character behaviors. But then, wouldn’t the comic itself be pointless? At this point, I expect every possibility. After all, none of the lore is consistent, not to mention logical, forget about unique or interesting.


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The One With The Needle

vlcsnap-error280

– Originally written in Polish, in 2010, translated in 2017 –

The pungent scent of urine. The morbid atmosphere. The emptiness.

47 was sitting on a cold cement floor in a room he was sharing with two of his “brothers”. There was a sharp piece of hard wood in his hand. He found it a while back and was determined to keep it just in case. He didn’t know where the wooden piece came from but it was more than plausible that it was once a part of a chair, destroyed by one of the clones in mad fury.

A loud snore filled the space and 47 winced thinking 43 woke up. He didn’t want anyone seeing him with a sharp object. Guardians did not permit of such trinkets and he knew exactly why. Just a few days ago he himself was a witness of 7 tearing holes in 11’s belly using only a tiny screw. There were still no news as to whether or not the victim survived. Albeit it’s not like that information was hugely desired.

Listening to his brothers sleeping noises, 47 was pretending to draw on the light gray flooring. A symbol of some sorts. A one he felt as if he was connected to somehow. Maybe he’s seen it before? The back of his head was constantly stinging. Only a week has passed since a barcode was added to the numbers. A fresh tattoo, especially on a delicate piece of skin and a spot like this wasn’t healing as fast as he’d like. A sharp pain was clawing into not only his head but all of the clones’. Doctor Kovacs was claiming it will harden them. 47 didn’t believe him.

He believed none of the things guardians were telling them. He could not understand how other boys could trust and blindly follow each of their words. No. That’s not something he could ever do. He was proud of his individuality. He knew what he wanted. The only problem was actually achieving it. If not for 6…

47 hated 6. Always “the best”, “the strongest”. Full of self-confidence, everyone’s pupil. His brothers stood in lines to lick his very feet. How many times has 6 punched 47? How many bruises and broken bones he was responsible for? 47 wished everyone would finally see who 6 really is. Not some strong warrior who should be looked up to. He was a monster. A cold hearted monster.

47’s heart was filled with hatred for the boy. His fist hit the cement floor and he immediately felt cold sweat on his back realizing how much noise he’s just made. Especially since there was someone walking down the corridor. Three adult men, judging from the sounds of their footsteps. Yes, they always sent more than one. Predominantly to 47. He threw the piece of wood under the bed and hopped on top swiftly deciding he will attempt to fool them that he’s asleep.

The door opened with a creak. 47 heard guardians walking into the room but his back was turned towards them so there he could do nothing more than listen in. First they woke 43.

“Easy. It’s just a vaccine shot.” sounded Doctor Kovacs’ voice. 47 has heard it multiple times and could recognize it anywhere. 43 made no noise as the needle pierced his arm. He was calm, staring into Kovacs’ eyes with his own. Ice blue. The guardian forced a slight smile and patted the boy’s bald head. Now it was time for 47.

“Hmm…” Kovacs thought to himself. “Is he asleep? At least we won’t have to use much force.”

47 knew the men were coming closer. His heartbeat picked up. Thoughts were crossing his mind faster than he could catch them. In one unexpected motion, the boy jumped off the bed just as Kovacs tried to reach him.

43 was curiously observing the situation. His brother retreated to the corner of the room and he almost wanted to come up to comfort him but one of the guardians held his hand up to stop him. They knew what 47 is capable of. Kovacs still had no idea what the scientist sees in this boy. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer and his strange ideas. Sure, 47 was doing better at some of the exercises and classes but there were clones stronger than him. Less coy. Less emotional.

“Just look at 10! Or 26!” he pointed out to the scientist one day. “How can you get your hopes so high up for a boy who cried whilst burying a rabbit? May I remind you that 47 is the single one who shows signs of any emotional connections. Why did you even let him keep that rabbit? You should have just killed him!”

“You’ll see, my friend.” Ort-Meyer replied. “I am never wrong.”

Doctor Kovacs was now seeing a mixture of fear, anger and determination in 47’s eyes. What was he planning? The guardian was trying to reap into the boy’s mind. He could usually foresee clones’ behavior. 47 was difficult to predict, though. He was asocial. Shut in his own little world. Objecting to everything.

“Little rebel.” Kovacs thought before saying aloud: “You don’t have to be scared. I won’t hurt you.”

47 could not be fooled. He knew these men too well for that. Most of all, Doctor Kovacs. He was sure he was going to remember him for the rest of his life.

“47, please. It’s just a quick shot. The faster we get to do this, the better.”

The boy shook his head. Did anyone ever heard him say something? Kovacs had no memory of even a single word spoken by this particular clone? And now, he was starting to get on his nerves.

Tired of playing nice, Kovacs made a discreet gesture with his hand. Two men accompanying him stepped closer and 47’s brain was now plowing through ideas. He took glimpse of something shiny. Kovacs was hiding a syringe behind his back. The boy felt twisting in his stomach. He hated needles.

Guardians came closer. Their plan was to grab him by his arms but 47 motions were quicker. Just as they leaned over to capture him, he ducked and crawled between their legs. In mere second he was over by the bed, reaching for the previously hidden piece of wood. The boy stood up, holding the sharp object in front by his chest in the same fashion he was taught to.

“Goddamn you! Can you not even keep an eye on one measly child?” Kovacs roared.

With all of the strength of his tiny body, 47 pushed the wooden piece into the guardian’s stomach. He was expecting it to pierce through the skin but was incorrect. Kovacs grabbed him by his clothes. The boy kicked him to no avail. Looking for a way out, he latched onto the doctor’s coat tearing one of the pockets. Empty syringes dropped on the floor with an array of sounds quickly echoing in the room.

“Get off!” Kovacs shrieked. 47 managed to seize one of the syringes. One still armed with a silver needle. Before anyone could react, the needle dug into Kovacs’ knee. The answer to that was a kick. 47 bent in half. Another guardian blocked the door. It would take ages to find the clone if he was to escape and hide somewhere.

With tears in his ice blue eyes, the boy slowly lifted his head and looked around. No… there’s no way… he can’t lose…

Kovacs took out the syringe out of his knee, grabbed the clone and applied, what he called, the vaccine. Just as he let him go, the boy jumped back on top of the bed and bundled up heads to toes under a dirty blanket. Doctor Kovacs felt as if anger was boiling inside of him. He left the room with both of the men accompanying him and door loudly closing behind him. A yell was heard in addition to the footsteps this time:

“Ort-Meyer, he’s done it again!”