Tuesday, February 11, 2014

All Star Western, A brief look.

You may know this about me from prior postings, you may not. Since I have been resurrected and once again find myself perched in front of a keyboard, I shall repeat myself.
  Jonah Hex, for me, was never really part of the Detective Comics Universe. Jonah was born out of Weird ___________ Comics, that red-headed left handed step-child of the 70's. He wasn't the good guy western and he took a lot of the western tropes and subjugated them and then he did the same with comic book tropes ("Death of a Bounty Hunter", anyone?). I think that Super-Spectacular was the first time I ever teared up reading a comic (except maybe from laughing at Uncle Scrooge comics).
  Then Jonah showed up in Justice League of America and if you ever want to see an abomination against nature, just pick up those two lovely books. The next time he showed up in JLA it was the heroes that were stomping on HIS turf, so it wasn't AS bad. Jonah then got tossed into the future and there were the 'cross-overs' with 'Batman' and the SUPER SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE of the Legion of Superheroes. I went along for the ride because it was Jonah Hex and Jonah in the future is more interesting than a comic with no Jonah in it whatsoever.
Of course, at the end of that run, a tear stained my cheek. Fleisher could write tragedies like nobody's business (but I must mention that Jonah Hex Vol #50 was another tearjerker for me). And then we come to the Vertigo Hex. Ahhh, yes. Vertigo Hex, the Hex that proved that the JLA stories weren't the negative apex of Hex story telling. Vertigo Hex, that which spawned the sword weilding Heroclix figure. Vertigo Hex, that which stoked the twisted fever dreams of Neveldine and Taylor and spat upon our summer cinema hopes like my great-grandma unleashing her chaw upon the shoes of an unwanted salesman.
  Every time that Jonah would be tossed into a story (Kents, Swamp Thing, The Return of Bruce Wayne, Generations) it was always because someone said "Western? Let's toss in Jonah Hex, the fanboys will love that!" and I would grit my teeth, buy it, and tell myself that this was an alternate universe Hex. I could understand Hex in 2050, but Hex hanging out and talking gritty with superheroes? Nahhhh, it wasn't for me.
  Rocket forward to All Star Western. Hex in Gotham. Weeeeellllllllll, I can kinda suspend my disbelief. It had more of a Wild Wild West feel (the series, not the movie) to it and there were Easter eggs for the superhero fanboys this time. Overall the story telling was solid and things went along pretty well. And then, Vandal Savage. errrrrr, OK, I guess. Jekyll and Hyde and Eclipso's diamond? Seemed to be just another throwaway story as part of a VAST CROSSOVER EVENT. Meh.
  Which brings us to Booster Gold..... Booster Gold. I liked Booster in his own book (the most recent series) but for Booster to be in Jonah Hex's old west was too much for me. But I continued to buy it because it was Jonah Hex, but MORE importantly, it was Palmiotti and Gray Jonah Hex. Booster being Booster, Jonah ends up in present day and has run-ins with Batman-clone, Bruce Wayne, Constantine, Swamp Thing and finally Superman.
 All of which brings me to this. I haven't enjoyed Jonah Hex in the present day. There has been some interesting insights and asides to his character, but overall, I couldn't recommend the book to a fan of westerns. The book became a book for folks that read Jonah Hex and a book that is trying to pull in people that read super hero books. I am the former and no longer the latter. But again, let's get back to this issue with Superman. Of the new 52, every book I started reading got canceled fairly quickly or I lost interest. Never picked up any Superman, Batman, JLA. Why? Because I didn't want to be forced to read the VAST ALL ENCOMPASSING CROSSOVER EVENT THAT IS FIVE TIMES BIGGER THAN THE ONE LAST YEAR!. That's why. But I did enjoy Hex's cynical view on how good a job Superman is doing (and my Lovely Wife almost broke her neck doing a double take when I read out loud the line about the "last fella" that tried to help and how "They hung him on a cross")
But let's get to the musem, shall we? Sadly, I only pick up my books (two of them. Jonah and Afterlife with Archie) based on whenever I can get to the comic store and thanks to everyone on Facebook,  ended up knowing of the main display in the museum. The whole museum made me smile. We had the nice nod to Tony DeZuniga as the collector of memorabilia and we saw Jimmy (and I think that was Justin) walking around the exhibit. On a side note, that docent, whom I imagined in my mind was named Dwayne, didn't look like me whatsoever. Oh, well.
But back to the story. This issue was the highlight of the series for me so far based purely on the conversation with Supes, the Museum, and the Aftermath. The Aftermath. I capitalize it because it deserves it. The panel with Hex riding into the oncoming light while calling Tallulah's name... my stomach was in knots as I turned the page, knowing, yet dreading what was coming. And there is was. The marks on the road, the smashed bike, and finally Hex's crumpled body on the asphalt. We know that Jonah lives and we know that he gets back to his own time (I've seen the solicit for #30), but it is HOW he lives and how he gets back that will be the interesting part.
  I know I'm being selfish, but I hope when he comes back to the Old West, it's more devoid of the DC Universe than what we have been seeing.
  I'll be back next week, trying to pick up where I left off in reviewing Jonah Hex Vol 2.

  Until then, you kids stay offa my lawn.


Susan said...

Nice to have you back, Dwayne, fighting the good fight. ;)

Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

Fights need to be fought and I shall do my best