Just when you think GARTH ENNIS has gone too far, just when you thought it was safe to walk the streets, just when you thought no one would go near the idea of the world’s first superhero prostitute… here comes THE PRO!

Written by Garth Ennis, with art by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, & colors by Paul Mounts, this one-shot came out back in 2002 from Image Comics.

A green-skinned alien, who calls himself The Viewer, is orbiting the Earth in a spaceship. He is scanning the planet to check the progress of humanity, to see when it has evolved enough to join the other intelligent races in the universe. He decided to prove to his robot assistant than any human, no matter how lowly they are in life, can become a hero, so he picks a common street hooker and gives her superpowers. This hooker, whom is never referred to by name, is definitely at a low point in her life. When we first see her she’s finishing a blow job, and then getting chased away at gunpoint when the customer refused to pay her the full $50 he owes her for it. She goes back to her dinky little apartment, which she shares with her infant son (also unnamed), who cries all the time and always seems to need his diaper changed. She wakes up the next morning strong, almost invulnerable, and able to fly, and is immediately greeted by the League of Honor, whom invite her to join them.

The LOH are all extremely thinly veiled members of the Justice League. The Saint (Superman), The Lady (Wonder Woman), The Knight & The Squire (Batman & Robin), The Lime (John Stewart, Green Lantern), and Speedo (The Flash). And they’re written like over-the-top caricatures of their inspirations, mostly speaking in high-minded speeches about responsibility, while The Lime speaks in stereotypical Black hip-hop slang, as understood by a White dude (Yo, yo! What’s up! etc.). Anyone familiar with Ennis’ writing, particularly his later work on THE BOYS, is aware that he has no respect for mainstream superheroes, and this issue is pretty much one long excuse to mock them.

The Pro is given a costume (although technically not a superhero name, she’s never referred to as “The Pro” in the comic), and immediately joins the LOH to go battle a team of supervillains (The Noun, The Verb, The Adverb, and The Adjective…seriously) who have attacked the United Nations, and it quickly becomes apparent that her methods of fighting are much harsher than those of her new comrades, after she beats one of the villains unconscious and then pisses on her, in full view of the U.N assembly. She then tracks down that customer from before and uses her powers to get revenge on him for what he did to her, and also gathers a bunch of other prostitutes whom he’d abused in the past to anally violate him with various objects (that’s just implied, not actually shown on-panel, THANK GOD). When the man somehow shows up at her apartment later to threaten her baby, she rips his jaw off. She then begins using her superpowers to make more money as a hooker, giving “super speed blowjobs” (which doesn’t sound very appealing to me). The other League members become concerned with The Pro’s behavior, so The Saint goes to her apartment to talk to her, and she ends up enticing him into trying one of her blowjobs. This just causes more trouble as The Saint’s super-sperm shoots through the roof and knocks the wing off an airplane, so the Saint rushes to save the plane, but forgets to put his pants back on first, exposing himself to the world.

There’s a scene back at LOH headquarters, where the other members are all yelling at The Pro, blaming her for all the trouble she’s causeds, and she proceeds to argue back by pointing out how ridiculous they are, by engaging in pointless repetitive battles with costumed supervillains that don’t really change the world or make it better, even questioning where they were on 9/11 when the World Trade Center was attacked. Again, this is clearly just Ennis using her as a mouthpiece for why mainstream superheroes are stupid, in his opinion. Then there’s a terrorist attack that the League must respond to and, well, let’s just say the issue ends with a bang.

I remember enjoying this issue much more when I bought it back in 2002. But re-reading it again after all these years, I can’t help but find it a bit one-note. The whole purpose of the book seems to be “superheroes, as a concept, are silly and stupid.” I guess it’s because in the years since I first read this book I have had the chance to read other books by Ennis, including THE BOYS, and so it’s a recurring theme of his work, which feels tiring after awhile. It may have helped if he’d also made the superheroes a little more unique, instead of just JLA rip-offs.

So I can’t say much for Ennis’ writing, but Conner’s pencils, Palmiotti’s inks, and Mounts’ colors are all top notch. It’s a nice looking book. THREE STARS

You can go to COMIXOLOGY and check out a 7-PAGE PREVIEW for free and, if you like it, buy THE PRO for just $3.99

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