If Swamp Thing is the embodiment of the ‘Green’, Firestorm is a Fire Elemental (or at least he WAS) , and The Flash(s) is the manifestation of the ‘Speed Force’, I would therefore postulate that Jonah Hex is the DCU personification of Tragedy.
Under the guidance of Michael Fleisher, the realm of Jonah expanded to include Turnbull, Mei Ling, Woodson & Ginny Hex and all the sorrow that accompanied the growing cast of supporting characters. However, under the deft hand of Justin & Jimmy, Jonah Hex has moved from melodrama into out and out tragedy. They have kept the Fleisher contributions, adding their own twists, and brought in characters of their own.
J & J have closed the tragic book on Ginny Hex, acknowledged the strained relationship with Jason Hex, peeled back the layers on the abusiveness of Woodson Hex and allowed us to see the end of it as wel, and violently laid El Papagayo to rest. In addition they have given us Tallulah Black, a woman almost as fiercely damaged as Hex, tossed in a small ray of hope and redemption for her (via a child) and then dramatically snatched that away from her and from us as well; and revealed Joshua Dazzleby, a half-brother completely at odds with Jonah, leading his own scarred life.
The book is so much more than a Western. It’s an ongoing tale of everything that can possibly go wrong in a person’s life. It is simply and truly a tragedy.
My wife asks why I read such a potentially depressing book. Granted, I do get enjoyment from the action and adventure but I also do it in order to appreciate my own life. Viewing my own relationships through the broken glass of Jonah’s life, I appreciate what I have, but I am also inspired to work to make mine better. So much of Jonah’s life has been spent turning his back on his pain and those who abandoned him that it spurs me on to take action, to make the phone call, to reach out, to connect with my family so that there will never be the chance of us drifting apart.
So, yeah, Jonah Hex is a Western comic book. But thanks to Mr. Albano, Fleisher, Palmiotti, Gray, and I guess even Lansdale , we have more than a comic book Western. We have a tragedy and, hopefully, a better appreciation for the things in our own lives.