Jonah Hex #20


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Jonah Hex #20


  • Words: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
  • Art: Phil Noto
  • Inks: Phil Noto
  • Colors: Phil Noto
  • Story Title: Unfinished Business
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 6, 2007

It’s a series of reunions for Jonah Hex ranging from bad to worse. A man like Hex, he meets a lot of people and makes even more enemies....

Writing duo Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti continue a stellar run on a title that gets better with each issue. With over a year and a half of stories, Gray and Palmiotti have become comfortable enough with the character to really stretch the tales and the character of Jonah Hex in intriguing and complex directions.

Hex got a little too clever for his own good in the last issue – taking the bounty on a pair of grown sons of powerful Wylie Park and then bringing the boys back to their father after their hanging to collect a reward for their return. Hex is a little too cocky and spending his double reward on a little too much liquor – which allows Park’s right hand man and his gang to get the drop on Hex. After hurting and humiliating the bounty hunter they leave Hex alive. Big mistake. Injured and afoot, Hex is rescued by one of the last people he wanted to see again but Hex is willing to put up with anything if it will lead him to revenge.

Despite threads connecting this issue to both the previous one as well as issue #4, this story still manages to be an easily accessible, stand-alone story. Those who have never picked up a Jonah Hex comic will not find themselves lost while fans who have been reading since issue #1 will find some familiar faces here. The story itself winds around the idea of revenge – both the revenge that Park has dealt upon Jonah and then Jonah’s revenge for that. As the saying goes – "He would laughs last, laughs best" and readers discover that the same can be said of vengeance. The story showcases not only Jonah’s usual taciturn toughness but also his cunning mind and clever sense of black humor. The story is also notable for both what the characters say and what they do not say. Gray and Palmiotti are extremely comfortable with silence in this comic – letting the pictures carry part of the story – but they can whip out sharp and snappy dialogue as well when the time is right.

For the last several issues, artist Phil Noto has been providing those aforementioned pictures that carry the story. One would expect his watercolor-like work to be too soft for a series such as this but Noto proves that he knows how to create texture in the people and buildings while allowing the stark but beautiful landscapes to be softer. It emphasizes the contrast between the characters and their settings and allows readers to see and almost feel the grit and dirt that pervaded life in the 1800’s.

If you are looking to step outside the traditional superhero comic book fare Jonah Hex is something to consider. This title features Western tales that reach beyond the genre and challenge readers with complex stories about complex people. Ride with Jonah Hex and you will see all the good, the bad, and the ugly that humanity has to offer.

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