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Jonah Hex #22

Posted: Friday, August 3, 2007
By: Jon Judy



ďThe Current WarĒ

Writers: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Phil Noto

Publisher: DC Comics


Have you read Lone Wolf and Cub?

If you havenít, you should, but a word of advice: you might like it at first, but eventually it will probably get on your nerves. Sure, the artís gorgeous, and every story features some cool ultra-violence, but it all gets so repetitive. Nearly every story follows the same plot: Ogami Itto, assassin, accepts an assignment, shows his nearly superhuman fighting skills while abiding by his odd, but strict, moral code, and kills the target in an unpredictable, and totally cool, fashion. Roll credits.

It can all get irritatingly repetitive, but if you stick with it youíll be rewarded. All that ultra-violence serves a purpose Ė that Itto would willingly stay on a path that results in such violence again and again shows how devoted he is to his revenge and elevates his story to a Tragedy Ė capital ďTĒ Ė in the Aristotlean sense.

What does all this have to do with Jonah Hex #22?

Jonah Hex generally follows a structure similar to Lone Wolf and Cub: the bounty hunter Hex accepts an assignment, shows his nearly superhuman shooting skills while abiding by his odd, but strict, moral code, and kills his target in an unpredictable, and totally cool, fashion.

That leads to three questions: Will Jonah Hex manage to avoid becoming repetitive and therefore annoying? Will all this repetitive ultra-violence lead to some larger, artistic design? Or have we gotten to the point that having read one issue of Jonah Hex means you have read them all?

To judge solely by issue #22, one would have to lean toward option three.

Hex is hired by a scientist who claims Thomas Edison has stolen one of his inventions. Hex heads off to Edisonís headquarters where the inventor and the bounty hunter philosophize about technology and the future. Hex swaps sides, in accordance with his odd, but strict, moral code. Then Hex, on foot, manages to take out a whole mess of horse-riding shooters.

Okay, he didnít kill them in a cool way, but other than that Gray and Palmiotti hit all the checkmarks this time out. Hex is a book that is, often, strictly by the book.

Even worse, the reliance on the Edison character this time smacked of a Forest Gump-like technique that itself smacked of desperation. Whatís next, young journalist Samuel Clemens tags along on one of Hexís gigs to get a good story?

Jonah Hex #22 was gimmicky, and Jonah didnít even bust the ultra-slickness when he went all ultra-violent. But Iím not ready to give up on the book yet; on the whole, it hasnít gotten repetitive, and even this substandard issue was a decent enough read. Gray and Palmiotti hit the mark more than they miss it, and the art has always been top-notch, even when it doesnít come from regular artist Phil Noto.

Bottom line: If youíve been reading Jonah Hex but want to save $2.99 this month, this is the month to skip. If you havenít been reading it, hit the back issue box, but donít start here.



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