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It's October. Leaves on the ground and spirits all around! We're having a little Halloween fun here at Longbox Junk by taking a look at some of the spooky comics in my (and my daughter's collection).
This time out, we're taking a look at one of the more unusual issues of Jonah Hex and. . .
Wait? What's that you say? Jonah Hex is a WESTERN comic?
So it is, my friends. So it is.
BUT. . .
Like in the Hulk series I reviewed the first issue of just a few days ago Jonah Hex is a character that's USUALLY pretty straightforward, but sometimes his series heads into some strange territory. This particular issue being a fine case in point.
What we have here is a Jonah Hex Halloween Special guest starring Bat Lash and El Diablo (that was published in DECEMBER, for some strange reason) fighting against demonic creatures and a Prairie Witch. It doesn't just head into strange territory, it runs in with guns blazing! Let's take a look. . .
JONAH HEX (vol. 2)
ALL HALLOWS EVE
Script: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Pencils: David Michael Beck
Cover: David Michael Beck
Let's talk about the cover a moment before we get into the story.
It's. . .pretty good. Nothing spectacular. The cameos of Bat Lash and El Diablo look good, but Jonah Hex has a sort of goofy expression on his face. The monochromatic tone doesn't really work great here either. It just sort of mutes the whole cover down when it really calls for a sharp contrast between night sky, full moon, and fiery whip.
Plus I'm still wondering why a Halloween issue shipped in December. . .
The Story goes like this:
We begin in a bar where Bounty Hunter Jonah Hex and Gambler Bat Lash are betting on bare-knuckle fights. After taking on a challenge from Lash, Hex easily beats the local champion. A messenger brings Jonah a telegram and he immediately heads for the town of Coffin Creek with Bat Lash tagging along out of boredom.
Three weeks' ride later, Hex and Lash arrive in Coffin Creek. The head to the local brothel to meet with the Madam, Crystal Ray, who is an old friend of Jonah's. She is the one who sent the telegram. She's called in a favor Hex owes her because there's a man in one of her rooms that nobody can get to leave. Every person she's sent up to oust him has come back beaten. The stranger has been asking specifically for Jonah Hex. . .
Inside the room is none other than El Diablo. A hellbound living spirit of vengeance that Hex has encountered several times before. His human host, Lazarus Lane, is nowhere to be seen. Normally they aren't far apart. Jonah demands to know where Lane is.
El Diablo ignores him and wraps Hex in his fiery whip, telling the Bounty Hunter that the town of Coffin Creek is marked for death that very night and he has been imprisoned in that room and separated him from Lazarus Lane so he won't interfere with the town's fate.
As Hex struggles against El Diablo's whip, the spirit tells him that a Prairie Witch named Esmeralda lured Lane away from Diablo, and unless he is reunited with his human host within three hours, El Diablo will be forced to return to Hell and everyone in town (including Hex) will die.
When Jonah leaves the room, Bat Lash is terrified when he sees Hex's eyes are glowing and he speaks with the twisted voice of El Diablo. . .who has possessed the Bounty Hunter! Hex/Diablo demands that Bat Lash follow him.
As Hex and Lash walk through town toward the saloon where Esmeralda waits, Bat Lash sees everything as normal, but the possessed Jonah Hex sees twisted demonic entities roaming the town. Two of them try to stop Hex and Lash from entering the saloon, but Jonah guns them down using the supernatural power of El Diablo . . .revealing their true form to Bat Lash as they die.
Once inside the saloon, Hex and Lash find Lazarus Lane bound and gagged, hanging from the ceiling. The saloon is filled with dozens of people possessed by demons, as well as the Prairie Witch Esmeralda herself. The demons all begin to whisper the name of Jonah Hex when he enters.
The Witch orders her demons to attack. While the possessed Jonah Hex is able to gun down the possessed townfolk using the power of El Diablo, Bat Lash's bullets have no effect. Seeing this, Jonah cuts down Lane and orders Lash to get him back to the brothel. . .
While possessed Jonah Hex and Esmeralda fight it out in the bar, Bat Lash carries Lazarus Lane through town, but all hell has broken loose! Townfolk and demonic creatures are fighting in the streets. Back in the saloon, Esmeralda is getting the upper hand on Hex. El Diablo's powers are much weaker without his proper human host. . .
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