Jonah Hex this week, with added Jeff Lemire. It's a mighty fine stew.
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.
It's Western Week here at the RG! Yee-hah! Giddy-up Cowgirl!
Jonah Hex #69, over to you.
First off, the art in this is great. Lemire is Lemire and he makes Hex his own. Lemire's layouts and storytelling are so strong, this could have been a silent issue and you still would have gotten the point as long as you knew going into it that the man is Hex's father.
The story? Eh, I dunno. This isn't exactly an enjoyable read, but that's not to say it's bad either. The first couple of issues of Hex that I read his cold-hearted demeanor was a novelty, now it's just a grind. Once you understand the character of Hex, you always know how whatever issue you're reading is going to end which I suppose just makes the middle stuff all the more important. The middle stuff here is classic Hex, but it's also a hell of a bummer.
This is my very first issue of Jonah Hex and I was treated to some awesome art. I love Lemire's style and it really seemed to fit well with the books tone. I knew going in that Hex was a hard man, but his actions at the end were rather extreme. This was definitly not your typical take on son meets father after years of absence story, it was unique and entertaining. That said I don't know if I would read this character monthly.
Another bonus is that this is a huge improvement over the previous work from this writer that I've read.
At the beginning of the second chapter of this comic, there is a panel of the rag tag band formed in the first chapter riding out to do their task. That panel is everything I love about Lemiere, there is more emotion and story telling in that simple, otherwise banal, almost clichéd shot, then most comics on the shelves. He is evoking the western mythos and creating a scene, a unique hue even to his own vision through the art, it is breath taking in its scope and minimalist in its execution.
The choices the guy makes are unbelievable. Most artists obscure the scarred side of Hex's face, the old what you imagine it to be like is worse than reality angle. Here, Lemiere obscures the good side of the face calling attention to the grotesque part of the bounty hunter's countenance. As a result, you get inside the characters heads. You realize that a sane person would either avoid his face altogether or stare at it. Gaping at the reality that is Hex's face.
The story is awesome. I don't know, maybe you can have too much of a good thing or a solid thing and that is why I don't follow the book on a regular basis, but the occasional issue with the superstar artist is always a surprise.
Here we have a Boy Named Sue through a filter of Sterling and Leone. The interesting thing is using Hex to get past the bluff of the old man's exterior to break him down and apologize not only for what he did to others, but to himself, it is an interesting character study handled deftly.
As good as the script is here, the real star and the obvious talent is the artist. He is a real artist working among ad print guys. My biggest fear is that we will lose him to "real art" like Jean. As a result, I will cherish every moment we get with him and secretly wish for more.
Story - 4
Art - 5
Overall – 9
This is also my first issue of Jonah Hex after claiming for years I'd finally pick it up. Everything said about the series is epitomized: strong pacing, interesting characters, intriguing setting, and a complete story wrapped in 22 pages. I wish I knew more of the story behind Jonah's family dynamics, but enough is provided for me to appreciate the father-son exchange. They're both staring at fun-house mirrors and neither likes the fact They're a couple of irredeemable SOBs who realize there's no point at reconciliation, just closure. Jonah's burial and beer-piss salute was a damn fitting end.
The art is great. It clearly tells the story and is dark, thick, and unclean, perfect for this type of title. I've always admired Lemire and I pray he's a big part of DCnU.
Story - 8/10
Art - 8/10
Overall - 8/10
This was, simply put, one of the best, and perhaps THE best, single issues I've read all year. From the revelation about who the Old Desert Rat was, to every point of the conversation between Jonah and his father, to the burial scene at the end, I was enthralled at every moment. The burial in particular was very well done. Without the use of any word or narration, the reader can still so easily tell what is going through Jonah's head, "I hated him, but the bastard was still my father damn it."
Just a great, great issue and very deserving of the 10 out of 10 I'm giving it.
'm not sure why people were upset about the story. This story was just like all their others, some of the best work DC is putting out right now. The art though really rose to the occasion and was some of the best I've seen in this title in ages. Right up there with Cooke.
Final Score: 9.5
This issue did a lot of things very well. Shifting the point of view is really tricky, and is rarely done well, but somehow it worked here. The fact that Jonah rode in on the aftermath of the big gunfight (which took place off-panel) was pretty great, and Lemire's layout for that page rocked it. That, along with the page with Desert Rat's "apology" were great artistic flourishes by Lemire, to the point that you can almost forgive him for doing a bad job of defining the space of the bar in the first couple of pages. That, and the fact that the four jerks who were after the gold looked like zombies with their chalk white skin were really the only problems with the art. The writing was just about flawless, though.
after the crap we put up with in this group it's nice to read a perfect comic.
I love the concept of this story, Jonah confronting his wounded father as the buzzards circle. I love the idea of a bitter son watching his father die slowly. I love the Oedipal overtones and the revenge fantasy. I love one-and-done issues. I love that this particular issue is dialogue heavy. I love Palmiotti and Gray's work on this series in general and on this issue in particular. And I especially love Jeff Lemire's art. His version of Jonah Hex is, officially, the best one ever. Just a mean, ugly looking son of a gun. Lemire makes him into a truly terrifying freak.
Story - Jonah Hex is a series that has often disappointed me. I was very excited for it when it was first announced, there was that amazing Frank Quitely, and it was DC doing a book that wasn't superheroes, I had to support it. But then it came out, and I found it very dissatisfying. The art from Luke Ross was strong, but the decision to do only 1-issue storylines was, I felt, misguided, and each issue felt rushed, with bad endings. Out of the first 12 issues, pretty much every story could have done with being 2 issues. So I dropped it. It was a good idea to have a Western series, but this take wasn't for me.
The only issues I picked up later were ones illustrated by artists who I loved, two from Darwyn Cooke and one from JH Williams, and whilst I enjoyed these issues for their art, the same storytelling problems remained, they weren't satisfying single issue stories (the second Cooke issue, #50 benefited from being double-sized, but it wasn't enough) and left me with no desire to start buying the book regularly again. So when it was announced that Jeff Lemire would be drawing an issue, I expected it to be the same as before, an issue with great art, with a disappointing story.
And it was, until Jonah Hex's dad showed up.
This issue started off in a pretty standard way, we had a helpless old codger set up, and some bad guys, and then Hex in the middle, I felt that I could predict exactly what would go down. But then Gray and Palmiotti pull the rug out from under me, have the bad guys killed before Hex even gets there, and has the old codger revealed as Hex's dad.
What? Jonah Hex isn't supposed to have a dad! He's the kind of loner archetype bad-ass that doesn't have a father. Does Han Solo have a dad? Does Dirty Harry? Does any Clint Eastwood character? Of course all these characters have fathers, but you never see them interact, it doesn't fit the macho hero image. Which is why this issue was so good. You don't expect to see a legendary hard-ass like Hex to even have a father, let alone for him to have a heart to heart with him (sort of). The whole conversation with Papa Hex and Jonah was just gripping, giving us a lot of insight into who Hex is, and making the character much deeper than he was before. This issue was something you're supposed to think shouldn't happen, but really, it had to happen. With the done-in-one nature of this series, I hesitate to say that Gray and Palmiotti have changed Hex here, but I hope this issue will reverberate throughout future issues. This issue has done what other issues of Jonah Hex haven't done, I'm going to pick up All-Star Western.
Art - Jeff Lemire is one of my favourite artists in comics today, his style is just so unique, and lends his books such a weird aura and tone. At first I was a bit freaked out about him drawing a story he didn't write, but it still worked. His take on Hex is one of the best I've seen, just terrifying, the scar has never looked so good (or bad). It was good also that some of the more experimental layouts from Sweet Tooth crept into this issue too. Whilst I prefer Lemire to draw his own projects, if he ever wants to do a Hex story again, DC should let him, as he is perfect.
Best Line - 'No, there won't'
While I enjoyed Jonah Hex #69 I couldn't help but think Lemire's art didn't fit...at least for this kind of story. Besides that I thought it was great but that they could have gotten a better artist.
I've been a Jonah Hex fan since the 70's. I still own that awful 80's scifi future series. I was gladly there for issue #1 of this current series as I have been for the entire run.
Reading the reviews here makes me hope some of you will continue to check the book out, because there have been some truly great stories in the issues you've missed (especially #50 drawn by Cooke).
As for this issue - I knew Jonah was going to eventually find his Pa, I just didn't know this was going to be it. Having a deeper background into the character than most, I state with certainty that the bastard got everything that came to him.
For a series that rarely mentions continuity, this issue was filled with dialog about previous tales - credit to Gray & Palmiotti because with every mention, I clearly recalled the details of those stories and how excellent they are.
This story was spectacular, years of waiting for this encounter and it's nothing like I expected it would be - this was better. The final scene was damn near perfect. With this series coming to an end (kinda) this issue serves as a great final chapter.
The art - while it fit the story excellently, I kept getting distracted by some inconsistent characters early on (the blond thief's face looked different every other panel for example). Once I got used to Lemire's style that feeling ebbed. Even so, for pulling me out of this book with his art, I can't give the book the perfect 10 it could have gotten.
Story - 10
Art - 9
Not part of this issue is what comes next. Sure Jonah will continue for another issue and then he moves on to All Star Western, but with his Pa now dead, that's one less demon Jonah needs to carry. With closure comes... what? I look forward to seeing what G & P come up with.
I liked the art, I liked the story and I liked this comic. Jonah Hex usually leaves me wondering why i don't enjoy it more and usually it's down to the art I guess because when someone as accomplished as Lemire or Darwyn Cooke draws an issue this is a comic I want to read.
Wow, this book managed to get 8.86 out of 10, thats bloody incredible considering the negative run we've been on. Kudos to you Graymiotti and Lemire! Read the shoot-out here. Next week... it's the Hicklash. Red Wing #1. Be there.
Written or Contributed by: Niam Suggitt
Comment without an Outhouse Account using Facebook
Note: while you are welcome to speak your mind freely on any topic, we do ask that you keep discussion civil between each other. Nasty personal attacks against other commenters is strongly discouraged. Thanks!
About the Author - Niam Suggitt
Niam Suggitt, Punchy to his friends, is the most humblest of all the Outhouse writers. His easy going manner and ability to see and recognize the point of views of those who he disagrees with has made him one of the most sought after members of our community to resolve conflicts. Although he likes all of you, and considers everyone to be his friend, Punchy would prefer you use “Niam Suggitt” when quoting him for the front cover blurb on your book. Follow this wonder of a man at @NiamSuggitt, if you want to, he’s cool with you either way.
More articles from Niam Suggitt