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I write comic book reviews that NOBODY has ever asked for!
The end of this long Jonah Hex trail is in sight. Last batch. . .Let's get it done!
JONAH HEX (Vol. 2 DC)
Not a very good issue at all. A tale of schemes and counterschemes ending up in murder and Hex hired to get to the bottom of it. One of the top 5 worst issues in the run, and the bad art by Giordano doesn't help. I've never been a huge fan of his art, I call it "Comic Status Quo". Art that is serviceable, but doesn't stand out in any way. It's just standard, bland, superhero art that doesn't fit Jonah Hex at all. Moving on. . .
Not good. The second 2 star review in a row. After the fantastic 50th issue, I guess I had my hopes up, but it seems Jonah Hex is starting on a downward slide. Not much to say good here about the story or art on this one, except to say that thank God they didn't lasso Giordano into doing another one. . .
Finally a decent issue after two stinkers. It's a pretty simple tale about Hex hiring a dance hall girl to help him nab a gang of train robbers. He doesn't realize that she's part of the gang. . .betrayal and bloodshed ensues. Not a great story, but not bad at all. The art by Tucci is very nice. Not his best, except for the cover, which is stellar.
Not the greatest issue, but not the worst. Just sort of average. It's nice that the writers continue their world building by bringing in characters from past issues. . .in this case, Chula (the young sister of the Matador from issue 32) and "The Star Man" (The corrupt lawman killer and badge collector from issue 27).
Hex accidentally finds himself part of one of Star Man's schemes to bring down another corrupt marshal. Bloodshed ensues after Hex is framed for Star Man's crime and he has to break out of jail before he gets hung. Either Bernet's art is getting better or it's starting to grow on me.
An average story all around. A young boy witnesses the death of his parents and blames Hex. Years later, the same young boy stands up to a gang and loses his life. Hex accepts his part in the short tragic life of the boy and takes revenge for him. The art on this issue is as utterly average as the story. The cover is a little odd. It makes Hex's face look almost like a robot.
I really liked this issue a lot. It includes 2 very short stories by 2 fantastic artists. The first has Hex helping an old Indian woman protect her land. The artist nails it. . .the panels of Hex by firelight are horrific. The second story is a flashback to Hex's time as a boy enslaved by the Apache, letting us know that he still visits his first love's (White Fawn) grave every year. A rare moment of sentiment for the crusty bounty hunter.
The rest of the issue is taken up by an interview about the live-action Jonah Hex movie (such optimism that it would be a hit and talk of a sequel! But THAT'S another story) and a preview of The Red Hood.
So for a Jonah Hex comic that's only half Jonah Hex comic, they did a great job! And the cover? Best cover of the series so far. No doubt. Great issue all around.
This was a very simple story, but I liked it quite a bit for all the DC western cameo appearances by Hex's All Star Western and Weird Western co-stars. . .Nighthawk, Cinnamon, Scalphunter, Bat Lash, and The Trigger Twins. Too bad El Diablo was missing. . .
Two boys swap unbelievable tales of Jonah Hex, then sneak out to see him for themselves when they hear he's in town. They stumble into the middle of all the heroes (and Hex) fighting a gang of bandits. Like I said, a simple story, but I got a kick out of the cameos. Unfortunately, hardly any of the other heroes get much time except for Scalphunter.
A decent tale about plots within plots and betrayals within betrayals that Hex finds himself mixed up in. We get to see what's become of the showgirl Hex shot in the back and paralyzed in issue #53 (She's bitter and vengeful, of course), but other than that it's not the worst tale of the bunch, but not the best. The art is utterly average. Moving on. . .
I was a bit confused by this issue. It's not bad in itself. A pretty simple story about Hex helping a man escape from an ambush set by his brother, who wants to kill him. I was confused because the character of the Gray Ghost was really played up and introduced in the first part of the story (Gray Ghost is from Jonah Hex vol 1. . .he's like the Old West version of The Punisher, going after those he feels betrayed the Confederacy), and he shows up out of the blue at the end of it, but Hex acts like it's not even a thing. This issue definitely feels incomplete, like setup for a resolution in a later issue maybe.
A pretty light issue saved by the stellar artwork of Brian Stelfreeze. Just look at that cover! In the top 10 of this series, easily.
Hex guns down most of his bounty's family while trying to capture him. The lone survivor swears vengeance and in a 2 page epilogue with a "The end. . .for now" teaser, what seems to be a new villain for Hex is introduced (a Mr. Destry). Other than that and the fantastic art, there's really not much here. . .
It's nice that the creators decided to tell a tale of Hex's married days to Mei Ling and her beginning to try and "civilize" him, but there's really not that much here. I only gave it 3 stars instead of 2 because there's a pretty good bit of sarcastic humor at the end of the story which the rest of the issue just feels like setup for. Nice to see Mei Ling, but it feels like a waste. . .
I'm a fan of Risso's art, and it's reliably great in this issue. . .too bad the story isn't as good. It's a fairly simple tale about Hex being hired to escort an. . .octopus. . .yeah, an octopus. . .to a circus freakshow. When competitors try to steal it, bloody mayhem ensues.
I'm beginning to wonder (about time. . .there's less than 10 issues left!) if Gray and Palmiotti might not be the best writers for Jonah Hex full time. Maybe they should have swapped in a bunch of different writers along with the rotating artists. . .Legends of The Dark Knight-style. It seems that G&P trend average with only a few great stories mixed in now and then. . .
I thought this was a pretty good issue. Not great, but better than average. Hex is hired to track down and kill a child molesting murderer called Loco. During the hunt, Hex flashes back to his younger days when one of his friends was killed by a similar monster. This series has always delved into the darkness of the human heart, so even though the writing has been uneven, I like that it goes places most mainstream comics won't even touch.
I sort of wish this book had been a Vertigo title. I think it would have been a perfect fit for that line. Also, Bernet's art seems to be getting better. When you read the whole run at a time, you can see the evolution from 2006 to 2011 of their most regular artist.
A pretty thin, but kind of funny, tale about Hex coming to a Mexican town in the middle of a festival and a woman who tries her best to seduce him. Hex refuses until she tries to kill him, then he teaches her a lesson by giving her what she wants, then leaving when the sun rises.
Her running after him shouting "I love you, Gringo!" is hilarious. Reminds me of the scene in "High Plains Drifter" where Clint Eastwood grabs the hotel owner's wife and drags her upstairs and she's totally in love with him in the morning. All in all, a fun read.
Not a great issue at all. An extremely thin story about Hex snowed in and wounded with a man who doesn't know Hex is hunting him who saves his life and is shown rare mercy by the bounty hunter. The art seems rushed, the cover is lousy, and the story is weak. Moving on. . .
A thin story elevated to 3 stars by the fantastic artwork by Fiona Staples. Hex stumbles on a town forced to cannibalism during a lengthy blizzard. . .and that's about it. There's a few good moments with a woman and her children, where Hex tries to convince them they don't have to do what they've been doing, but other than that, not much else. The art is the best part of the story, perfectly capturing the thin, wasted look of the starving townfolk.
A pretty decent story about Hex wrongly accused of a killing and him finding the right man for the posse who comes to hang him. The art is good (I like Garres' dark, twisted, exaggerated style), but it is so wrong for this pretty straightforward story. So not a bad issue, but not great.
Here's the thing that confuses me, though. . .It's issue #68 and the series ends with issue #70. This is the first issue with a letters page. Did the creators NOT know that there were only 2 more issues to go? It just seems extremely strange to have a letters page BEGIN 2 issues from the end of a series. . .
First off. . .that cover! It's about one of the craziest covers I've seen on ANY comic.
The issue itself is about Hex meeting his father for the last time as he dies in the desert after finally striking gold and getting shot by bandits. It's a good story piece. . .too bad it seems a bit rushed. I can't decide if I like the art or not (Except the awesome cover, that is). The artist has a very exaggerated style that I like, but doesn't really fit the intimate nature of the story of a son watching his father die in the desert. All in all a pretty good issue that brings closure to all the flashbacks to Jonah's early life we've seen during this series.
Well. . .here we are at the end of Jonah Hex Vol. 2. The final issue is basically a mix of visions Hex has of his own death while he lies injured. Or are they visions? The question is never really answered. It's a pretty good ending to the series, with excellent artwork.
If there's one conclusion I've come to at the end of the series it's that although it's great that they maintained the same writing team through 70 issues, I feel that this title would have been better off with rotating creative teams doing one shots and short story arcs, which worked well on Batman's Legends of The Dark Knight, and would have been a perfect fit here.
The regular writers were pretty good, but they rarely managed to reach a level beyond "pretty good". The rotating artists were great, but it seems that 50% of the issues relied on Jordi Bernet. He definitely evolved as an artist through the series' run, but more artists would have been even better.
Last. . .I feel this book would have been not just good, but great, if it had been under the Vertigo imprint, where the artists and writers would have been able to delve even more deeply into the darkness that dwells in mankind.
All in all, I enjoyed this series, but I feel sad that, on taking it all in at once, and with the hindsight that ten years down the road affords, I see that it COULD have been so much better.
Up next. . .
Guess what? When I was looking at things after it was pointed out that I had forgotten to make a blog post on Jonah Hex, I noticed I had ALSO forgotten to do a blog post on the 20 issues of Dynamite's Zorro I did AND the follow up 12 issues of Dynamite's Zorro Rides Again.
So. . .ZORRO!
Be there or be square!
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