Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Not going in for a Hex-change operation

It turns out that guys currently writing Jonah Hex had an idea where Jonah encounters a couple that are unable to have children. Through one means or another, Jonah ends up being 'hired' to impregnate the woman, thus providing them with a family. The catch to the whole story? The family's name is Dent... as in Harvey Dent... as in Two-Face.

The big hoo-hah about this story seems to revolve around DC nixing the story and the discussion revolves around two things (how appropriate!): Did DC kill the story because it is in bad taste? and why this would be a bad idea for the character of Two-Face.

When I first heard this story idea, I let out a little chuckle and thought about the sweet irony in the story, but the more I think about it, the less I like it. It appears that people are not thinking about what this would mean for the Character of Jonah Hex.

Jonah does exist in the DCU, that much has been established. However, for me, part of the enjoyment of Jonah has been the time he existed apart from a world that had superheroes. He lived on a world where he could meet Bat Lash or maybe Scalphunter, but I never expected him to encounter El Diablo or a young Toby Manning. That would have moved him from a romanticized semi-realistic West into a West that could include aliens, demons, and all kinds of things.

But eventually this did happen. Jonah encountered the JLA, was in CoIE, time traveled to the future, appeared with Clark Kent’s ancestors, ran into Swamp Thing, and even had his corpse on display in a theme eatery. Okay, he’s in the DCU and having these events seems to bring a level of realism and continuity to the books they appear in (the non WWT, JH books) I think that they take a little bit away from the character & world of Jonah Hex himself. Jonah is a loner living an exile created by either society, his profession, his personality, or his appearance. But he is a loner and the few times he has allowed himself the luxury of friendship or love, all of the aforementioned things seem to conspire against him to destroy that relationship. He is doomed to be alone.

And I think I like the idea of him being alone in the DC publishing universe. A book alone amongst all the others. The one book that DC prints where they can say, this one is good enough and unusual enough to not get ensnared with this pot-luck of heroes that we print and have to re-boot their histories every few years. This book is about the man and his actions, not about guest stars or entangled crossovers into other books with writers that don’t understand the character.

Tying Jonah directly to the Dents and actually being an ancestor to one of the more famous villains is just a little too much to me. I can swallow the chance encounters, they really don’t alter either characters involved. So the Kents run into Jonah. Neither are worse for the wear. I can even take the slight reference to St. Roch in a recent Jonah Hex, but I think if do the Hex/Dent storyline a line may be crossed that will allow writers to take almost anything that happened in the 1870s and try to tie it to Jonah in an attempt to be clever. And then Jonah’s character will become a dumping ground for anything in “The Old West”. I don’t like it.

Jonah did have a son, Jason, and we have never heard of him since he was about three. I think that is completely fair. In our world there are groups of people, friends, families, that seem destined for greatness. Their name spans generations, their influence crosses centuries. But these folks are in the minority. There are even more folks that manage to make a mark/change on this earth but their families eventually merge into the rest of society, they become average. I think it most fitting that a man with Jonah’s drive, skill, and infamy would have a descendants that would become part of the normal population, thus leaving Jonah alone in history. The man who was abandoned by his mother, sold by his father, hunted by his comrades in arms, betrayed by his step-brother, scarred by his step-father, and finally rejected by his wife, ends up finally and totally alone, not only in the stories of his life, but in the publishing universe he lived in.


Brandon said...

Excellent points.

I have this bad feeling that DC's gonna end this Hex series with a bit of time travel.

I wouldn't mind seeing Hex jump over to Vertigo.

Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

Did you ever read the Vertigo books? I hated one issue so much I GAVE it back to the comic shop where I bought it.

Brandon said...

I actually didn't know there had been a Vertigo series. That bad, huh?

Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

There were actually 3 of them. The first was about Jonah fighting zombies, not bad. The second was him battling Dune-type worms, didn't read it. The third had a baby that had the head & paws of a bear. I returned the first issue GACK!!!

Sartana said...

Have you seen the announce of a series about Jonah's origin??? I saw a few pannels ant it looks like they are going to re-creat the whole story about Jonah's face...

Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

Yup, I heard that they are going to do a 3-issue arc. I think that might help Jonah a little bit. Back during his original run a lot of the stories were "done in one" but near the end they started having re-occuring characters and continuing stories. I think a few 2 or 3 part stories would be very helpful.