Hitman (Marvel Comics)
|First appearance||The Spectacular Spider-Man #4 (March 1977)|
|Created by||Archie Goodwin
|Alter ego||Burt Kenyon|
Burt Kanyon, also known as the Hitman, first appeared in The Spectacular Spider-Man #4 (March 1977), and was created by Archie Goodwin and Sal Buscema. The character subsequently appears in The Amazing Spider-Man #174-175 (November–December 1977), in which he is killed. The character appears posthumously in the Punisher: Return to Big Nothing graphic novel (1989).
Fictional character biography
Burt Kenyon was a Vietnam veteran serving in the same company as Frank Castle, who would later become the Punisher. Kenyon saved Castle's life by killing several enemy soldiers and dragging Castle to safety after he was wounded in an ambush. Castle wanted to know how he could repay Kenyon, to which Kenyon replied that Castle should remember that he owed him a life.
As the Hitman, Kenyon was a costumed mercenary assassin. He was hired by the Maggia as their version of the Punisher. The Vulture had rejected the Maggia's offer before they hired the Hitman, so the Hitman was sent to humiliate the Vulture by killing Spider-Man before the Vulture could. The two villains fought over Spider-Man, allowing Spider-Man the chance to escape. The Hitman had placed tracers on both the Vulture and Spider-Man, and he continued to harass and attack them both. While Spider-Man feigned weakness, the Hitman coerced the Vulture into attacking Spider-Man, but Spider-Man turned so that the Hitman shot the Vulture's power pack instead of Spider-Man. The Hitman fled and Spider-Man gave the tracer to the Punisher to give him the opportunity to track the Hitman down.[volume & issue needed]
The Hitman was hired by a terrorist group called the People's Liberation Front (PLF) to kidnap and kill J. Jonah Jameson for editorials written about the group. While looking for the Hitman, the Punisher found himself battling the PLF. As the Hitman confronted Jameson in his office, he attracted the attention of the Punisher and Spider-Man. The Hitman escaped to the roof with Jameson as he fought Spider-Man, but Spider-Man followed him. Hitman managed to escape in his mini-copter despite the Punisher's efforts to shoot Hitman. One of Spider-Man's spider-tracers allowed them to track the Hitman to the Statue of Liberty, where the PLF planned to blow up the statue with Jameson inside.[volume & issue needed]
The Punisher and Spider-Man arrived to stop the PLF, and confronted the Hitman. Spider-Man managed to pull Jameson away from the Hitman, and the Punisher shot Hitman, who fell from the statue but managed to grab part of the Statue of Liberty's crown and hang on. Spider-Man was also hanging from another part of the statue, but was wounded, weakening, and also holding on to Jameson with his other arm. Castle was momentarily torn between helping Spider-Man or Kenyon, especially when Kenyon reminded Castle that he owed him a life.[volume & issue needed]
Castle chose to help Spider-Man, telling Kenyon to hang on until he could get there. Kenyon declined, saying that he would never last and that Castle had already made his choice. He then said that while Castle had owed him a life, he never said that it had to be his (Kenyon's) life, and that by saving Spider-Man, they were now even. Kenyon then let go and plummeted to his death.
In other media
Hitman appears as an enemy boss in the 1990 The Punisher video game, piloting a helicopter.
- The Amazing Spider-Man #175 (December 1977)
- Hitman at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe