DC Comics
Jonah Hex # 44
By Koppy McFad
June 9, 2009 - 04:42

DC Comics
Writer(s): Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti
Penciller(s): Cristiano Cucina
Colourist(s): Rob Schwager
Letterer(s): Rpb Leigh
Cover Artist(s): Cristiano Cucina
$2.99 US 32 pages


Jonah Hex's old foes, southern aristocrat Quentin Turnbull and Mexican bandit El Papagayo join forces to finish the old bounty hunter once and for all in the first part of a story arc that also features the gambler Bat Lash and the female gunslinger Tallulah Black.

There is an air of importance attached to this story. The opening scene with a tornado carrying off numerous men and horses is en effective portent of the violence to come. But when the story actually starts, it feels too rushed and too cramped, yet is oddly rather unexciting as well.

The creators of this book try to tell the story as though it were a spaghetti Western movie instead of a comic. We get big captions telling us what the setting is (ex: 'TEXAS'), or introducing the characters, in an effort to impress the readers. We also have scenes where characters talk in very unnatural ways while acts of violence are carried out, almost like a badly-dubbed European movie. Such touches might be more effective on film. In a comic book, it can come off as pretentious.

Even as they use giant captions and long speeches, the creators make little effort to tell us who these characters are and what their backstory with Hex is. Not everyone remembers who Turnbull or El Papagayo are, so their appearance does not instantly set off any alarm bells and their brutal treatment of Hex appears to lack proper motivation.

The scene with Hex being buried alive in a coffin are also a bit old hat. We've seen it in "KILL BILL,", in a recent Batman comic, even in the BRAVE AND THE BOLD cartoon. But in this one, Hex's escape from the death-trap just seems too fake and contrived. And just how much air was in that coffin anyway.

The introduction of Bat Lash and Black also seems to bit artificial to the story. It really looks like they are cramming every major supporting character from the Hex comics into this story, just to make it feel more 'monumental.'

The art has a desperate, dangerous look to it but some panels are just scratchy and undefined. Some characters don't come off very well. Tallulah Black for one, looks as if she were drawn by an amateur. The grey of Hex's old Confederate uniform seems to be the same shade of the blue of the army soldiers. And for a storyline focusing on guns, the artist does not draw revolvers very well. Considering what a "big" event this is, DC Comics should have pushed for a better art job.

Rating: 4/10

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Jonah Hex # 44