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I grew up reading Jonah Hex in 1970's in the pages of Weird Western Tales. You must understand the westerns I grew up on was John Wayne, The Lone Ranger, Wagon Train and the Virigian. It was later that I discover the Magnificent Seven and the Clint Eastwood Man with No Name series of films. My first exposing to the idea of the anti-hero was Hex.
In this graphic novel,the lucky reader has a rewritten original more suited to HEX, the bounty hunter and the man. In this graphic novel, which reprints three comic novellas, we are reintroduced to Jonah Hex. Thosde who do not know the comic nor the character will enjoy the intro to him.
The writing is crisp and to the point, not like a monthly comic more like a well told novel. The art is the stuff you frame when buying an uncolored one sheet at auction. (Does anyone know if this art is available to buy, I would love a piece from this Hex book)
Being a big fan of Jonah Hex from way back in the 70's, I wanted to see what the new update would look like. After all, the character was nearly killed off in the 80's when he started fighting monsters and demons. Now Jonah is back as the western (anti-) hero he was supposed to be (though the Albano stories are still unbeatable).
I was a little disappointed with the first two books, as most of the artists where a let down and incapable of drawing a decent western (jeesh, isn't there a single artist nowadays who can draw a horse?). But with the third volume we get at least an artist who can draw westerns (Torpedo's Jordi Bernet). The storyline which goes through three chapters, takes us back to when Jonah was a kid and of how he got his scarred face (and no, he wasn't kicked by a mule).
For old fans like me, there is nothing new on the horizon, as this story was already told before (and much better) by Michael Fleischer. However, we can see that DC has taken an interest in bringing the character back again the way he was meant to be, instead of transforming him into some sort of futuristic superhero. Also, this time around he at least speaks in his southern western drawl (as opposed to the modern PC English he spoke in the first two volumes).
The other two artists in the volume are worthless, the second one faring only slightly better than an inept artist called Phil Noto.
Now DC, how about getting Russ Heath out of retirement and have him draw a story?
`Jonah Hex: Origins' is a compilation of issues 13 - 18 of the comic book published by DC / Vertigo in 2007.
The first three issues / chapters comprise the `Retribution' story arc, which consists mainly of flashbacks dealing with Jonah Hex's younger days, which were marked by plentiful abuse at the hands of various personages, including brutal Union Army officers, a drunk and disorderly father, and vengeful Apaches. We learn how Jonah suffered the injury to his left eye, and later, who was responsible for the disfiguring scar that mars the left half of his face.
`Retribution' is reasonably well written, although for some long-time fans of the Jonah Hex character, the disclosure of how he received his famous scars - after so many years of remaining a series mystery - may seem like the breaking of a covenant.
If the modern incarnation of the Hex series could be said to have a dedicated artist, it's Jordi Bernet, who illustrates the `Retribution' storyline. In my opinion Bernet's art style, with its sketchy, rather hasty quality, is not the book's strong point. But it's probably unrealistic to hope that Moebius will ever step in to draw some Jonah Hex comics in that `Blueberry' style.
The next two issues / chapters deal with the history of Tallulah Black, a young woman from Tennessee who is Hex's sometime bounty-hunting partner, and sometime girlfriend. `The Ballad of Tallulah Black' reveals the gruesome treatment Tallulah underwent at the hands of renegade Union soldiers. Luckily for our heroine, Jonah Hex is in the right place at the right time to lend some assistance, and under his tutelage Tallulah learns how to draw and shoot well enough to seek her revenge.Read more ›
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I think that title says it all, Jonah Hex is consistantly on the top of my read pile each month because the stories are so unique, the art is fantastic and it delivers month in and month out. Most times, the stories by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti are one and done stories but this trade is mostly the great origin story of Jonah Hex. The creators treat the character with respect and the story shows it. Clever and sharp, the story is engaging and shows their strength of great characterization. Jordi Bernet is a new face to most American comics but those who love art have seen his great Torpedo series before and was a great choice for this arc. Glad to have this trade on my bookshelf. DC should support this book so much more.
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