HIT-MONKEY Season One
The Ape Of Wrath
Broadly comedic but far more brutal than the live-action Disney+ shows
UK Disney+, streaming now
US Hulu, streaming now Showrunners Will Speck, Josh Gordon Cast Jason Sudeikis, Fred Tatasciore,
Olivia Munn, George Takei
How’s this for a needlessly convoluted premise? Bryce (Jason Sudeikis) is an injured assassin saved from the Yakuza by a tribe of monkeys. During his convalescence he befriends a young macaque (voiced with grunts and screams by Fred Tatasciore) and teaches him how to shoot. Eventually the gangsters show up and slaughter everyone, but Hit-monkey survives and – egged on by Bryce’s ghost – seeks revenge.
With its irreverent tone, bloody violence and spectral buddy comedy dynamic, Hit-monkey feels a little bit Deadpool, a little bit Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased) and a lot like Archer. Although Marvel references abound, it isn’t in the mainline MCU continuity, which gives showrunners Will Speck and Josh Gordon the freedom to play a little rough. Although broadly comedic, this is far more brutal than the live-action Disney+ shows.
It’s also frustrating. The animation is middling. The Yakuza are characterless, disposable villains and Bryce shares a similar flaw to Sudeikis’s most famous character, Ted Lasso: a wearying inability to shut the hell up. Sometimes the constant stream of quips and pop culture references leaves poor old Hit-monkey feeling like a supporting character in his own show.
Happily, the second half of the season is stronger. An episode that separates the duo allows for a decent amount of pathos and insight, while the arrival of a certain Daredevil villain adds a much-needed sense of peril to proceedings.
Still, you’d expect a show about a ghost and a monkey assassin to be riotously entertaining. As it is, it’s… fine. It’s just fine.
Hit-monkey was created by Daniel Way and Dalibor Talajic, first appearing in 2010’s Hit-monkey #1 and Deadpool #19-21.