There has been a number of books and graphic novels based on the Hitman universe (the less said about the films the better although I did like Oliphant and Friend as actors just not as 47). With Hitman: Enemy Within the story is based on 47’s employers the ICA and a rival organisation the Puissance Treize. The ICA have given 47 a mission to kill a North African crime lord who is actually quite despicable, you will notice this with nearly all of 47’s contracts in the video games. There’s never an apparent innocent person 47 must dispose of, it’s always someone who is quite sinister in some way although I did have some pity for the Swing King in Blood Money as he’s on his knees before 47 before Agent 47 does his thing.
In Enemy Within 47 has to target this crime lord and the Puissance Treize the rival agency have sent an agent to protect him. This is the unfortunate Cassandra Murphy who meets 47 at the beginning of the book when 47 goes after the head of a biker gang in the states. This first mission in the beginning gives you a taste of what 47 is capable of later on in the story. Along with the main contract there is also some espionage and power plays between the rival agencies hence the name Enemy Within. I would recommend this to anyone even if you aren’t a fan or have no idea of the Hitman games, there’s enough action suspense to impress anyone who has an interest in crime novels or thrillers.
Along with the main story we get to learn about 47’s past as a biologically engineered clone created by the dastardly Dr Ort-Meyer (who we meet in the first Hitman Game), we read about how badly treated he was as a child and as is found out in the games, how he got the name 47. 47 kills his first victim his fellow clone Number 6 who was his bully. His handlers are impressed by this and the rest is history (or so it seems)
Which leads me to want to talk about Birth of the Hitman. Where the story is somewhat different. Birth of the Hitman comes after the release of Hitman (2016) and there has been a revision in 47’s origins.
Turns out he didn’t kill 6 at all. 47 was given an experimental serum that affected his memory making him he killed 6. We learn in Birth of the Hitman that 47 and 6 were quite pally. We also learn about Diana Burnwood, 47’s handler and how she and 47 became part of the ICA. Part of the plot twist at the end of Hitman 2 (2018) was that 47 was one of the paid assassins with 6 of Diana’s family. We see how the stories of these two people would eventually intertwine. I like Birth of The Hitman because along with Enemy Within there is enough action to keep you reading however, unlike Enemy Within I do think Birth of the Hitman is more for the fans.
My only issue with the book and graphic novel is that the game naturally presents 47 much better than the novel and graphic novel can. In the game you get a sense of 47’s presence. How he speaks, how he steaks out his targets. The Hitman games (most of the levels) are not really about the action, they’re about stealth and figuring out how to get to the target or trying to make it look like an accident. This would not really work well with the books so we see the explosions and chases. I also think this is probably why the Hitman films did not quite work. Hitman is not really about the action, it’s about the pre meditation and suspense.