By Koppy McFad
December 10, 2010 - 22:22
Jonah Hex escorts a very strange package to a circus. Naturally, someone turns on him.
This title has received a lot of critical praise, even while it has struggled in sales. While JONAH HEX has its good qualities, it is far from being the classic masterpiece that some people are saying it is.
This issue is an example of some good writing marred by gigantic flaws. The whole plot, of numerous murders being carried out just for a circus attraction is just too bizarre. Maybe if the creators had given us an idea of what a huge sensation this attraction was, then it might be a little easier to swallow but they fail to do that.
There are mistakes that just take the reader out of the story, like a panel where a woman is referred to as "Ms." Isn't this the 19th century? It is shocking that no one in DC Comics spotted this error.
Then there is the whole plotline --- SPOILERS ALERT -- where Hex and company are transporting a man-eating octopus in the back of a horse-drawn wagon. The octopus is being held in what appears to be large wooden tub. It can't possibly be more than a few feet deep. And yet the story acts as though the octopus was some huge monster being stored in some gigantic tank. At one point, Hex falls into the tub and sinks out of sight-- even though we have all seen that the tub that can't be more than three feet deep. The whole sequence actually comes out looking quite comedic.
Maybe the original story called for the tank to be a huge thing being pulled by a whole team of horses but if so, then someone failed to tell the artist.
The art is suitably moody and suspenseful, provided you can get over the absurdity of the wooden tub. This title has usually had good artists, largely because it doesn't have a regular penciller, allowing DC Comics to tap the talents of superior artists who are willing to do a single issue rather than stick around for three or four issues.
It is in the writing that JONAH HEX is lacking. Too many times, the writers seem to be wallowing in horror and shock tactics to try to make the title seem more gritty and 'realistic.' This issue serves up a man getting his head torn off and a woman being beaten to death to try to stand out. Palmiotti and Gray did gain some renown for doing comic versions of 'splatter'movies and it sometimes looks like they are using the same tricks in this book. The old Hex stories had their share of brutality but they gave us a lead character and a world where this brutality was clearly an anomaly, making the eventual scenes of violence look tragic and necessary. Nowadays, the violence in this title seems to be there for its own sake.
Rating: 6.5 /10