Section 8 (comics)
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Panel from Hitman #18. From left to right: Defenestrator, Friendly Fire, Sixpack, Shakes, Jean de Baton-Baton, Dogwelder, Bueno Excellente, Flemgem. Art by John McCrea.
|First appearance||Hitman #18
|Created by||Garth Ennis
Steve Dillon (Dogwelder only)
Jean de Baton-Baton
Section 8 is a fictional comic book team of superheroes appearing in books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Garth Ennis and artists John McCrea and Steve Dillon, the team first appeared in Hitman #18 (September 1997). The team is named after the military designation for "mentally unfit for duty".
The team is based in The Cauldron, the Irish section of Gotham City, and is led by Sixpack. They apparently have some sort of heroic history (though this is questionable, owing to the fact that several of their members seem prone to complicated hallucinations) prior to the events of Hitman. The team is headquartered on an artificial island in a sewer. As of the start of the series, the team is split up, although they are all still located within Gotham City. Friendly Fire, Shakes, and Jean de Baton-Baton had retired; the Defenestrator was in Arkham Asylum after throwing a cop through the same window fourteen times; Dogwelder and Flemgem were still stalking the streets of Gotham. Sixpack was a regular at Noonan's Sleazy Bar, believing his drunken dreams of superhero work were real.
The team reforms to provide critical support for Tommy Monaghan and his crew during the "Ace of Killers" storyline. Collectively, they kill many mafia soldiers that were trying to kill Tommy, Natt the Hat, Detective Tiegel and Catwoman. The group later aids Tommy during his encounter with the Czarnian mercenary anti-hero Lobo. Specifically, they aid Tommy in creating material blackmailing a stunned Lobo with the help of Bueno Excellente which prevents Lobo from taking revenge against any of them. Sixpack makes several solo appearances in Hitman as comic relief and an ally in some battles.
In their last appearance, the team was starting to split up again after Friendly Fire pointed out how pathetic they were and that all they did was meet once a month and achieve nothing. Sixpack is left distraught when Friendly Fire points out, in anger, that all his 'superhero' missions are just drunken dreams. However, when the demonic Multi-Angled Ones arose in Gotham, Section 8 rallied to fight them. Their attempt was completely unsuccessful: most of the team die or accidentally kill themselves. However, the Many-Angled Ones become interested in Sixpack when the flames from an explosion don't touch him, and when he tells them that he'd be willing to die standing against them because "that's what superheroes do". The demons are left amused and a deal is made where Sixpack will leave with them and try to battle against them for his own soul, in exchange for leaving Earth alone.
Sixpack has a statue built in a park in his honor of his sacrifice (a parody of the end of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?), though he is shown still alive (and sane) in New York City at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, implying he defeated the Many-Angled Ones. Bueno Excellente survived the battle as well and avenges their loss on the scientist responsible for releasing the Many Angled Ones.
In June 2015, DC began publishing "All-Star Section Eight", by Ennis and McCrea.
When Sixpack has a near-death experience, the Phantom Stranger reveals that the dead members of Section Eight were sent to Limbo, with the exception of Dogwelder, who was apparently condemned to Hell because, "He welded dogs to people, for ******'s sake!"
- Sixpack: Team leader, whose special ability is grotesque drunkenness and beating villains with broken-off liquor bottles; he talks in a stream of comic clichés. He thinks he is a real superhero and does not seem to realise that all his superheroic encounters are just drunken dreams, but gets upset when he's told they are not real. A regular at Noonan's Sleazy Bar, he fights against the vampires in No Man's Land and at the Battle of Noonan's Bar in "The Old Dog".
- Bueno Excellente: An obese, sweaty, and bald Latino in an overcoat who "defeats evil with the power of perversion." Generally, the only things he says are "Bueno" or "Excellente", often preceded by a creepy chuckle. That Stupid Bastich reveals that he has a career in porn films. He has also become a small internet meme and in the two-issue miniseries JLA/Hitman it is revealed that Bueno Excellente had apparently date-raped Kyle Rayner by slipping something into his drink. This is only mentioned in passing as Kyle does not remember the incident.
- The Defenestrator: A large, burly man in a denim jacket, black sunglasses, with black hair who obsessively carries around a window through which he forcefully throws criminals and the occasional unlucky policeman. His assaults on police officers landed him in Arkham Asylum. His appearance, name, and his death (and last words) are direct parodies of Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
- Dogwelder: A thin, silent man in a welder's mask who spot welds dead canines to evildoers. When Sixpack tries to bring him back to the team, Dogwelder almost welds him on general instinct.
- Friendly Fire: A large, hapless man in a red cowl, Friendly Fire would easily be the most powerful of Section 8's heroes if he were to shoot anything other than allies with the potent bolts of energy he fires from his hands. He is the most defeatist member of the team and the only one who will state how pathetic the team is (though he apologises to Sixpack for revealing the truth), but he still wore his costume even in retirement. He blew his own head off when trying his hardest to shoot the right target.
- Jean de Baton-Baton: A bizarrely gaunt walking French caricature who defeats enemies with "the power of Frenchness," as expressed by savage beatings with a baguette and occasionally blinding others with rings of garlic and onions.
- Flemgem: A sickly, thin, bald man in a green suit and a purple domino mask who has the ability to produce and expel large volumes of phlegm, which can blind, suffocate, or simply disgust evildoers.
- Shakes: A thin, hairy vagrant who upsets people through stutters and an overall shaking palsy. He is a frequent accidental target of Friendly Fire. He dies trying to take out the Many-Angled Ones, when he grabs a grenade and runs to a petrol station.
Following Sixpack's accidental return to alcoholism, he assembles a new Section 8 to combat a mysterious (and possibly imagined) threat. Sixpack convinces Bueno Excellente to reenlist, brings in five new members, and attempts to fill the vacant eighth position with someone from the Justice League.
- Baytor: The Demon Lord of Criminal Insanity, and caretaker of Noonan's Bar.
- Dogwelder II: The preceding Dogwelder's gear was acquired by a pawn shop, where it possessed an African-American man, and transformed him into the new Dogwelder.
- The Grapplah!: A man with grappling hooks and guns who is also "an annoying tool who won't shut his stupid mouth".
- Powertool: A rational, construction-themed vigilante with a drill in his helmet's faceplate.
- Guts: An ambulatory and female mass of internal organs arranged in a vaguely humanoid shape.
- Hitman #18
- Hitman/Lobo: That Stupid Bastich
- Hitman #51–52
- Review:All-Star Section Eight #1, by Matt Little, at Comic Book Resources; published June 10, 2015; retrieved June 11, 2015
- Garth Ennis (w), John McCrea (p), John McCrea (i), John Kalisz (col), Pat Brosseau (let), Marie Javins (ed). "5: Suggested for Mature Readers" All-Star Section Eight #5 (28 October 2015), United States: Marvel Comics
- Rogers, Vaneta (18 June 2015). "Garth Ennis Returns to Quirky Hitman Universe with All-Star Section Eight". newsarama.com. Newsarama. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- DCU Guide: Section 8
- Cosmic Teams: Section 8
- Dogwelder cited as one of Comic Book Resources' "Reasons To Love Comics"
- "The Top Ten Lamest Superheroes of All Time" from PopCultureAddict.com (#6, Dogwelder)