Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jonah Hex V2 #10 "Gator Bait"

Jonah Hex V2 #10 Oct, 2006
"Gator Bait"
Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, story - Phil Noto, cover and art

Gone Too Far South - Black Swamp, Louisiana. A wooden shack built over a swamp and we see a man, Flint, dumping a body into the water and gators feasting upon it. A large retarded man, Dewey, sits on the porch along with an old woman called "Ma", gleefully watching the carnage. Flint mentions that "the Negro" got away but "Dean stuck him good". As the three of them watch the gators eating the body tossed into the water, Flint asks about "the whore". "Ma" responds that the girl is lost to the sins of the flesh so they should just wipe her off and let the boys preoccupy themselves with her.

Last Request of a Dying Man - An injured African American rides into town and falls of his horse just as Jonah Hex exits a saloon. The man begs Hex for help,  saying that "they" have his wife, baby, and best friend and begs for retribution. Hex states that retribution comes at a price. The man says that they were on their way to Oklahoma and hands over a deed to Hex. Hex tells him they will pay in blood for what they done and the man dies with a Thank You on his lips.

Later that night Hex is in a poker game and ends up busted. Leaving the game, Hex is stopped by a question from another player, asking if there is anything of value that Hex could put up as a stake to return to the game. Jonah pulls the deed from his coat, reads it and then returns it and leaves. Hex is walking down the dark street and overhears the constable talking to the undertaker.

The constable voices concern as to why he should venture into the swamp based on the word of a dead Negro. The undertaker says that he only builds boxes, he has no thoughts concerning the Lamont family. Hex interrupts, asking if the box contains the man from that afternoon. They acknowledge that it does and that this is no business of Hex's. Jonah calls them cowards and idiots because they don't see the opportunity before them. All the constable has to do is place a bounty on the Lamonts and he will be a hero come election time, with no endangerment to himself. The constable sees the wisdom in the words.

The Jaws of Death - Hex is making his way through the trees of the swamp and comes upon a marker, an arrow made of rocks. He climbs a cypress and spies the cabin in the distance and we hear a voice behind him. It is a man with a shotgun, saying that Hex is pretty good at trackin' but since he ain't from the swamp, he can't move about silent, like swamp folk. The man introduces himself as Dean Lamont. He asks for Hex's name, but Jonah says they won't know each other long enough for that to matter. Dean forces Jonah to head onward to the cabin.

As they approach, the whole Lamont family is on the porch, Flint, Ma, Dewey, and four others. Flint asks Dean what he has there and Dean replies "Dinnah". They take Hex to the back porch, overlooking the swamp and the gators. Ma asks Hex if he thinks her pet gators are cute. Jonah says that he came across a colored fella and explains the story. Ma says they did stop by and she guesses that Hex is here per the man's request.

Jonah wants to know where the mother and child are. Flint grins and says the mother is inside. The half-breed Negro baby was a tasty snack for the gators. They force Jonah backwards toward the porch railing, Flint on one side, Ma on the other. Flint pulls his knife and suddenly Jonah throws himself backward, grabbing Ma and Flint, taking them both with him into the swamp water.

Dewey starts clapping and laughing, cheering the gators on. Hex pulls Ma and Flint deeper, throwing Ma into the path of one gator and then wresting the knife from Flint's hand. He stabs Flint in the chest and then wedges Flint's corpse into the mouth of a second gator. Hex dives under again and takes a gator head on, stabbing it repeatedly in the head and then surfacing across the swamp and dragging himself onto the shore.

Across the swamp, Hex can hear the screams of the family and the cheers and laughs of Dewey. Dean garbs his shotgun and screams at Dewey to shut up. Dewey grabs the barrel of the shotgun and says he don't feel so good. Dewey suddenly vomits all over himself and Dean, repulsed, inadvertently pulls the trigger, blowing Dewey's head clean (more or less) off.

Lessons From the Cheyenne - Later, Dean is leading the rest of  Lamont family in a toast of remembrance of Ma and Flint. Dean tells the others to open the crate. As Jonah creeps up outside he overhears Dean say that maybe the girl can soothe their troubled hearts in this time of despair. One of the family observes that the girl is no longer right in the head. Another of them says he can't stand her vacant stare..go get a sack to put over her head.

Suddenly the front door swings open and Jonah Hex, dripping wet, stands silhouetted in the doorway. Dean and the others are frozen and the door swings shut. From outside the cabin we hear the carnage and hell that Jonah Hex visits upon the Lamonts.

All we get to see is...

The house is now on fire and Jonah is leading the blindfolded victim out of the house. He says that she doesn't need to see what he visited upon them. He says he ain't much for conversation but she has probably crawled deep inside herself, so it don't matter nohow. They aren't 100% square for the death of the baby, but it's the best he could do.

As they stand there, watching the cabin burn, Hex hands the deed over to the woman and says that when she is ready to go, he'll be at the horse.

Statistics for This Issue
Men killed by Jonah - 7 people and one gator. (Dewey was killed by Dean)
Running Total - 567 (432 past, 55 future, 15 Vertigo, 65 V2)
Jonah's Injuries - Probably some scrapes from the gator fight.
Timeline - A day and night at the start, probably not too long to track down the Lamonts. Let's say two-three days, tops.
Rape Percentage - 40% (4 out of 10)

This was one sick sick story. The level of sickness, depravity, and evil exhibited by the Lamonts has to be some of the worst in comics (but don't worry folks, we have 60 more issues to get through and Jimmy and Justin push the envelope even further).  The punishment handed out by Hex was, by my estimation, no where near enough, but judgement of that level can only be meted out by God.

I can't say that I enjoyed this issue. The story was good, but it was just a little too twisted for me. I have to admit, the older I get, the less tolerant I am of sick evil deviant behavior in 'entertainment'. Also, I'm still trying to figure out the details regarding the land deed. It appears to be signed by Andrew Jackson (President 1829-1837) and it was stated that it was for land in Oklahoma (first opened for settlement in 1889). Deeds weren't handed out in the Land Runs, one staked a claim and then obtained the deed, so if our victim had a deed and was heading to Oklahoma, he would have had to obtained it from someone else so the earliest this story could have taken place would have been early summer of 1889.

But what did Jackson have to do with it? I can hear you say "NOTHING! It was artistic license on Noto's part." I know, but stuff like that drives me crazy!!

Next Issue - The Fallout from Issue #1 and we learn that this Hex is IN the DCU!

1 comment:

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

I just learned that Tony DeZuniga passed away today.