Monday, January 30, 2012

Jonah Hex V2 #8 "Never Turn a Blind Eye"

Jonah Hex V2 #8 Aug 2008
"Never Turn a Blind Eye"
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, story - Dylan Teague and Val Semeiks and Dan Green, art - David Beck, cover

It's the Southern Nevada Territory, 1868 (arrrgh. More later) and a small town is all astir because Jonah Hex just came riding in, his horse pulling a small wagon with a casket tied onto it. He pulls up in front of the jail and tosses the wagon's rope to the sheriff who pries open the casket only to find six heads inside.

Hex demands his money and the sheriff says he'll get it right away. Jonah tells him to bring it to the saloon. Jonah is relaxing in the saloon when a man stumbles through the swinging doors, not believing that he sees Jonah.  The man collapses and Hex tells the barkeep to fetch a doctor. The man, a fellow bounty hunter by the name of Jake Clevenger, is moved to a table where he relates the tale that he and Mike Brogan, Matt Tobias and Bat Shiff were tracking a man when they got ambushed two days out of Flagstaff.

It was a dozen or so bedroll killers and Jake was the only one to get away. The doc comes in and looks at Jake but Jake says that the killers are on his trail and will kill everyone and everything in town once they arrive. Jake tries to warn the sheriff but Hex tells him to let the doc finish his work first.

Outside, four men on horseback ride slowly into town. The storekeeper runs over to the saloon to tell the sheriff and Jake says that it has to be the killers, the sheriff had better be careful. The sheriff steps outside and asks if he can help the men. The men answer him in German and suddenly Jake bursts out of the saloon and shoots one of them through the head. One of the men shoots the sheriff in the shoulder, Hex steps out and kills two but the fourth one rides off.

The sheriff, bleeding from the shoulder tells Jake that he has to give up his gun. Jake says that there is no reasoning with crazy killers. The sheriff tells Hex that he could use his help to which Jonah replies that this is the sheriff's town and he better start handing out badges. Jake rails on about how they are all going to die and the sheriff panics and enlists the help of as many men as he can.

Hex goes back to the saloon and Jake is right behind him begging for help. Hex tells a saloon girl that he wants a room and she takes him upstairs. Jake said he thought Hex was one for taking sides and Jonah tells him that the only side that makes sense is his. Upstairs the saloon girl is getting undressed but Hex has a small telescope and is looking out the window. Hex asks her why she does this and...

Again with the "heh."

Outside, the sheriff is placing men all around town for an ambush and a large group of riders are getting close to town. The sheriff meets the riders in the middle of the street and Hex sees some wagons far outside of town with a lot of kids hanging around. He leaves the girl and heads downstairs.

In the street a woman from the riders approaches the sheriff and says "We is dealing." The sheriff is confused and just the Hex kicks Jake out of the saloon and into the street. The woman grabs a knife and lunges for Jake but the sheriff stops her but one of the townspeople get jumpy and shoot a rider.

Well, all hell breaks loose with riders shooting towners and towners shooting riders. One man shoots a woman rider in the back and Hex dispatches him without a thought. Once the shooting ceases...

Hex grabs a man, a rider, that is still alive and the man hands Hex a photo of himself and family. Just then several dozen kids come walking into town and start mourning their dead parents. Hex walks over to Jake a plants the muzzle of his pistol right between Jake's eyes, demanding an explanation. Jake starts stammering and Hex shoots him in the left knee.

Jake screams and relates the tale about how they were on the road to Flagstaff and come upon a young girl washing in a river. Things being what they are, Jake and his three buddies rape and kill the young girl. Her younger sister sees it and runs off but Jake shoots her in the back and kills her. The nearby wagon train hears the shots and commence to chase and kill the men, following Jake to this small town.

Back in the present, Jake is begging for mercy from Hex. Jonah grabs a rope and hands it to the surviving rider and then leaves town. As Hex rides off we see Jake strung up from a tree and several dozen children mourning in a graveyard.

Statistics for This Issue
Men Killed by Jonah - 9. Six heads, two riders and a townsfolk.
Running Total - 555 (432 past, 55 future, 15 Vertigo, 53 V2)
Jonah's Injuries - None
Timeline - 1868. But, as we all know, Nevada became a state on Halloween, 1864. Things like this should be easy to check, so why aren't they? I said "WHY AREN'T THEY!?!?!?!?"
Rape Percentage  - 37.5% (3 out of 8)

This story was a good heaping plate of "Meh." First off the artwork was rough. Dylan Teague did the first 13 pages and the last nine were by Val Semeiks and Dan Green. The change in work was pretty jarring and the break was after a couple of pages of ads. I found myself flipping back to see what had happened. Teague's work was very stiff and the last part of the book was too scratchy and cartoony. This ranks on the bottom of the pile as far artwork for this series.

The story wasn't that great either. A small exchange between Hex and the saloon girl showed some insight, but that was it. We end up with a misunderstanding that leads to dozens of deaths and it all started with... wait for it... rape. Wow, eight issues and three rapes. As Chris Sims once said:

But then again, there’s certainly stuff that turns me off just on principle; I stopped reading Jonah Hex because of all the wild west rape that was going on in that book, and if I never see someone in a DC comic have their arm violently ripped off again, it’ll be too soon. We all have our tastes.

I had to remind myself when Sims dropped the book (#27) but I have to admit I was getting tired of the rapes right about this time.  This is one story that could have been left out of any trades and the world would have been better off.

Next Issue - Things get really really weird and we have the return of Tony DeZuniga

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