Overview

Jonah Hex #44

Review

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Jonah Hex #44

Credits

  • Words: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
  • Art: Cristiano Cucina
  • Inks: Cristiano Cucina
  • Colors: Rob Schwager
  • Story Title: Six Gun War
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 1, 2009

It’s a bad blast from Jonah’s past when a long-time enemy finds him again… and soon draws others into the fight as well!

Many readers have long expressed a wish that writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti would do longer story arcs on Jonah Hex. Now, with the series just a few months shy of its third anniversary, approaching 50 issues, and already generating hype for next year’s feature film, Gray and Palmiotti have decided to fulfill that wish with their first six-issue story arc. Determined to also make it a story with a bang like a Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza, the dynamic writing duo have called up (for the first time in their run) classic Jonah Hex villain Quentin Turnbull and many of Jonah’s wild west friends to boot (using the term "friends" lightly of course when it comes to Hex).

Jonah has been called to yet another bounty job only to discover it is all an elaborate trap by old foe Quentin Turnbull. But Turnbull is not alone; another one of Hex’s foils is along for the ride – El Papagayo. Turnbull and his men leave Hex to a grisly fate and head down Mexico way. It is there that two of Hex’s friends attract Turnbull’s and Papagayo’s attention… and if anybody can get into trouble it is the card sharp, lover and occasional fighter known as Bat Lash and the scarred, tough as nails, female bounty hunter Tallulah Black. It seems that the witch fate is wrapping a net around Hex, those who have aided him over the years, and those who have hated him for years.

It is fair to say that Gray and Palmiotti strain the bounds of credulity and coincidence in order to bring this whole cast together but, no matter what else Jonah Hex is, it is still a comic book so a little stretching can be forgiven. For fans of classic Hex, seeing Turnbull again in all of his obsessive glory, is a real treat. It is also a lot of fun to see Gray and Palmiotti bring back their own creation of Tallulah Black and again dust off some of DC’s long forgotten western heroes. For those who are new to the series, however, there is nothing of Turnbull’s history with Hex given here – presumably that will unspool at some point across the remaining five issues. Even without the back-story it is simple enough to accept Turnbull as yet another person with a grudge against Hex since Hex tends to leave a bloody swath of physically and emotionally wounded behind him wherever he goes. Really, that is the main theme that Justin and Jimmy are setting up here – the never ending circle of violence and how even those who would call Jonah "friend" find that his friendship comes with a price of brutality.

Surprisingly, for the first long story arc Gray and Palmiotti did not choose a "superstar" name artist. No George Perez, Jim Lee, Frank Quitely, or Ethan Van Sciver here; instead fans meet the art of Cristiano Cucina – an Italian newcomer. This is a bold move on the part of the creators and one that should be applauded. Cucina proves his talent right off the bat – there is no sense of unfamiliarity or tentativeness as he gets to know the characters. He draws Jonah Hex and the harsh, old west landscape with a confidence as though he has been doing so all his life. His style perfectly captures the rough people and stark landscape and adds just the right amount of gore to bring home the violence of the situations and the horror that accompany them.

Leave it to Gray, Palmiotti and Cucina to produce a nearly perfect opening salvo to Hex’s first long story arc. There is the expected violence, some terrific guest stars, snappy dialogue, the devil’s own luck, and a surprise or two along the way. For fans of DC’s western comics, "Six Gun War" looks to be shaping up to a "Hail, hail, the gang’s all here" in the best possible way.

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Comments

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jun 10, 2009 at 4:32pm

    Know what I'd like to see? P & G giving us a story of Jonah from his time in that post-Apocalyptic future from the 18-issue HEX series. Won't happen but would be intriguing.

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