Sunday, April 21, 2019

Batman 100-page Giant #8-10 "Batman Universe"

Batman 100-Page Giant #8 2019
"Batman Universe"
Brian Michael Bendis - story, Nick Derington - art & covers

These are the Wal-Mart exclusive 100-page Giants series. These books really bring up some good memories for me. I lived in a small town in NE Illinois and I didn't have access to comic books unless we made a trip to my Grandma's down in the Ozarks. On those thips I would walk all over town buying every single book I could afford. Well, when the DC Dollar comics hit the shelves, my local drugstore started carrying them. I was in heaven. I got a brand new story along with several reprints of hard to find older stories.

  The format today doesn't thrill me as much since these cost $4.99 and while you do get some reprints, they are reprints of ongoing stories, so if you miss an issue, you are clueless as to what is going on in the next one. Ah, the good old days of Done-in-One stories. Anyway, Jonah Hex has made an appearance in the current run in Batman. For a quick recap, the Riddler has stolen a Fabrege egg that Batman has determined used to belong to Jonah Hex. Batman tracks down Jinny Hex (in #6) and questions her about it and she says she wants nothing to do with it.

  Batman tangles with Vandal Savage and then teams up with Green Lantern. They both head for Dinosaur Island where they spy on Savage deep within a mountain, contemplating how to activate the egg. Savage leaves the room and when Batman and GL get closer to the egg, they find themselves thrown back in time to the old west where they encounter Jonah Hex.

Batman 100-Page Giant #9 2019
"Batman Universe"
Brian Michael Bendis - story, Nick Derington - art & covers

Jonah draws down on Batman & GL and they remove their masks to prove they aren't crooks. Batman asks Jonah if he has ever heard of Vandal Savage. Jonah admits that one doesn't forget a name like that but admits to nothing else. Batman explains they are from another time and they are tracking down an article that Jonah has either owns or will own in the future.

Batman goes on to explains that the egg sent the two of them here and they found out about the egg from Jonah's Great-granddaughter. Jonah dismisses the other cowboys riding with him and then mutters "Not from this time..."

A short talk about their attire and GL uses his ring to hide his uniform. However, his 21st century clothes aren't much better. They head to a nearby town and Jonah pays for some appropriate duds for his two visitors. They decide to head after Savage but Hal reminds Batman that he has only 39 minutes left of charge in his ring and since he doesn't have the battery with him....well, things aren't looking good for them getting back home.

 Jonah tells them to mount up, what he knows of Savage lies a six days ride to the north. Hal decides to speed things up by handling the travel arrangements.

Needless to say, Jonah has never traveled like this before.

The trio end up in the town where Jonah last saw Savage. He relates that their encounter was an accident and Savage thought Jonah was after a treasure or something. Suddenly, Hal's ring starts acting weird and Hal vanishes from sight.

As Batman and Jonah try to figure out what just happened, Vandal Savage shows up with several friends in tow.

Batman 100-Page Giant #10 2019
"Batman Universe"
Brian Michael Bendis - story, Nick Derington - art & covers

Savage addresses Batman and Jonah, stating that as he understands it, Batman is from the 21st Century, there to steal the egg from Savage's hand. Jonah, on the other hand, brings up some unfinished business between he and Savage. Savage tells Jonah to settle down, since he barely remembers Hex.

Batman and Savage discuss the egg, how it brought Batman here and how it creates wormholes. Savage states his first inclination is to just leave Batman stuck in the 1800's since he would probably be happier here. Batman somewhat agrees. Savage then says that he will have his accompanying members of the Black Order kill them both, to which Jonah responds...

Savage takes one right through the heart but is only staggered, not killed. Jonah is annoyed and then the fight breaks out between Hex and Bats and several members of the Black Order.

There is a rollicking two page fight and then Batman sees the egg starting to glow in Savages hand. He shouts for Savage to drop the egg but the egg quickly flies from Savage's hand into Batman's grip. Then, not unlike what happened to GL, Batman floats up into the air and vanishes.

Batman finds himself in Crime Alley in the present day just as the Batmobile pulls up and out steps Vandal Savage holding a blaster. Savage states he's been looking for Batman for over 150 years and then opens fire, taking the egg from the fallen Batman.

Statistics for These Issues
Men Killed by Jonah - Undetermined, since the battle is a free for all
Running Total - 664 (432 past, 55 future, 15 Vertigo, 172 V2)
Jonah's Injuries - None within this storyline.
Timeline - All within the span of a day.

As a guest appearance, this one was pretty good. Jonah was written true to character with not much phasing him, other than some ring-assisted air travel. I enjoyed the reference to Jonah having encountered Vandal Savage before. While it is possible that the refers back to when they were last in that town, it COULD be a call back to The Return of Bruce Wayne #4 or even All-Star Western V3 #18. 

A few things were off. In issue #9, the horses weren't very well drawn. The legs were so large the horses would have been 7-8 feet tall at the shoulder. Also, in one panel, GL and Bats word balloons were swapped, giving Bats a smart-ass reply when it had been GL mouthing off all issue.

Now, about Jinny Hex being Jonah's Great-granddaughter, let's do some math. Jason Hex, was born in 1876 and in 1899 we see he has a child (when Jason would be 23 or so). We also know that Woodson Hex was a private detective in the 30' and 40's. The time frame is about right for Woodson Hex P.I. to be the son of Jason, that we see in JH V2 #25. 

Now working backwards from Jinny Hex, who appears to be about 20-25 in 2019. That puts her birth around 1994-1999. Going with 1994 as the earliest she could be born let's estimate her father's age. According to Social Security statistics, the average age of the father at the birth of his first child in 1994 was 28. In 1994, most families had almost two kids. If Jinny was the second child, her dad was probably 30 when she was born. This would put HIS birth year at 1964.

So for Jinny to be a Great-granddaughter, Woodson would had to have fathered Jinny when he was 95? Possible, but improbable. So we currently have:

Jonah Hex
Jason Hex - son, 1876->1899
Woodson Hex - grandson, 1899 - ?
Jinny Hex - Great grand daughter, 1994

So I am postulating that Jason had another son, possibly as late as when he was 55 (1929) and this son (let's name him, I dunno, Dwayne Hex?), brother to Woodson, fathers Jinny when he is 65 in 1994. This is putting things really out on the fringes of what normally happens, but it is possible. 

It would have been a whole lot easier for Jinny to be a Great-great-granddaughter.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Jonah Hex Via Pony Express Podcast is now live!

Four fans have gotten together via the wonder of international 21st century technology and produced a podcast devoted to the Scar-Faced Bounty Hunter, Jonah Hex. We are working on getting it on iTunes and other platforms, but for now you can find us here
Jonah Hex Via Pony Express

In the first episode, I join Hex historian Susan Hillwig, corraler of Hex information Darren Schroeder, and Hex newcomer and fan artist Arreah Bihary (who provided the artwork above) as they provide a quick publication history of Jonah Hex throughout the years. We also recount how each of us first encountered Jonah so we cover a timespan of some 40+ years.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Jonah Hex V2 #26 "Four Little Pigs: A Grindhouse Western"

Jonah Hex V2 #26 Feb '08
"Four Little Pigs: A Grindhouse Western"
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray - story, Guiseppe Camuncoli - layouts, Stefano Landini- finishes, Camuncoli and Schwager - cover

Once Upon a Time, There Were Four Little Pigs

A woman stands outside her side barn, wearing a blood-covered butcher's apron, leaning against an axe, shading her eyes against the sun. Jonah rides up and asks if she has seen the man on the wanted poster Hex is holding up. He mentions that the man is riding with Lewis Himelhoch, Mike Hewison, and  Loy Turns. She says that she hasn't seen anyone in two months. Hex starts to leave and she offers him dinner, seeing as the ride into Holsten is a far piece and she hasn't had anyone to talk to that ain't crawling and squealing.

  Jonah inquires after her husband. She states her name is Holly and her husband ran off last spring. She asks if Jonah is a lawman and that is when Jonah notices three saddled horses in her corral.

  During dinner she quizzes Hex about his bounty hunting and speaks about the service Hex is doing, ridding the world of worthless men. Jonah is short on words and long on silence. Holly asks what Hex's god-given name is and he replies "Jonah is what my father named me."

  The liquor continues to flow long after dinner and Holly starts quoting Jonah 4:10-11. Jonah points out that she is drunk and if she leaves the Bible out of the discussion they'll get along fine. Jonah eventually passes out but Holly is still awake and...

 The Big Bad Wolf Dearly Loved to Eat Fat Little Piggies.

Later, under a full moon, Holly goes out to the barn to slop the 'pigs' and that is when we see four human tongues nailed to the inside wall of the barn and the 'pigs' she is slopping are four men, their tongues cut out, their arms cut off at the elbows and their legs cut off at the knees. They runt and squirm for the food as Holly grabs a whip and starts flailing the men. Suddenly Hex is in the doorway, telling Holly to drop the whip. She replies that it is not yet his turn when suddenly a shovel cracks the back of Jonah's skull.

 To Market, to Market, to Buy a Fat Pig. Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig.

Jonah awakens to find himself trussed up in the dark barn and in the darkness he hears the other men stirring. He calls out the names of the men he has been hunting and they grunt their acknowledgment. Hex comments that they look terrible. The men wiggle over and start chewing their way through Hex's bonds. 

  In the house, Holly is speaking to Hannah about what to do with Hex. They head towards the barn, axes in hand. They find Hex gone and they take out their anger by whipping and kicking the four men.

 Birds of a Feather Flock Together, and So Will Pigs and Swine.

 Back in the house Holly and Hannah debate if Hex is still around. They decide since his horse is gone, Hex has gone to Holsten in order to bring the law back. They decide to 'clean out' the barn so there is no proof and they argue about Hex. Holly thinks he's a dumb man that deserves the fate they mete out because he has probably wronged many women. Hannah says that Holly shouldn't flaunt herself but they can't afford to get sloppy. Holly quotes Proverbs 23:7 "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." and she knows he'll be back for vengeance. Hannah heads out to get some firewood.

  After a bit Hannah doesn't come back and Holly goes out to check on her. She finds blood by the woodshed and as she examines it, Hex knocks her out with a pistol.

What to do with Her? Says That Pig. Kiss Her to Death, Says This Pig.

Dawn, and Holly and Hannah find themselves trussed up in the barn. Jonah sits in a rocking chair, axe in hand and lighting a smoke. Jonah notes all the tongues nailed to the wall and he starts to wonder as to why...

  Hannah starts in with...

Jonah speculates that the four men in the barn aren't the first ones to meet their fate at the hands of Holly and Hannah just as the four wiggle their way into the barn. Jonah notes that the men prefer that Jonah not use the axe on the two women. Jonah sits down as the four men wiggle towards the women and proceed to savage them with their teeth, chewing the women to pieces to the point of decapitating them.

 The men start begging for Jonah to shoot them but he refuses as he still has a job to do.

Give to a Pig When it Grunts and a Child When it Cries, and You'll Have a Fine Pig and a Bad Child.

Much later we see Jonah riding into Holsten leading two horses with the four men strapped atop them. The sheriff comes out and wonders at what Hex has done. Jonah explains that it wasn't him but the women outside of town. Jonah would have dispatched the men, but the warrant specifies them alive, not dead. The sheriff draws down on Hex and tells him to leave town. Jonah states that he will comply as soon as he is paid. 

The sheriff replies that he would rather shoot Hex than pay him and Hex punches him straight in the nose. Jonah explains that he will be paid or there will be one less lawman in town. Jonah gets his money and bids farewell to the four men.

Statistics for This Issue
Men Killed by Jonah - None, but he did help facilitate the deaths of Holly and Hannah
Running Total - 664 (432 past, 55 future, 15 Vertigo, 172 V2)
Jonah's Injuries - Brained with a shovel.
Timeline - Given a day to ride to Holsten, I'll say two days..
Rape Percentage -  30% (8 out of 26)

Obviously influenced by Grindhouse, this is one of the more gruesome tales of Jonah Hex. It was a far far cry from the Hex penned by Michael Fleisher but oddly enough, it reminded me of Fleisher's work on The Spectre. The fate of Holly and Hannah was fitting and had a wonderful EC comics vibe to it. I loved the grittiness of the artwork and the colors, it really sold the book. I do believe that three of the butchered men were named after actual Jonah Hex fans, can't remember where I read that. (possibly on the Paperfilms forums)

My main gripe with the story had to do with a 'teaser' that Justin and Jimmy posted on their now-defunct Paperfilms Forum where they described the story as their 'sickest one yet' (if I remember correctly). Stating something is 'sick' strikes me as... I don't have a word for it. It reminds me of folks being proud in 'keeping Austin weird' or 'keeping Portland weird.' Weirdness (as well as sickest) isn't bestowed upon a person/place by the person/place itself, but by others. Self-proclaimed Weird isn't Weird at all, just sensationalistic advertising.

A secondary gripe is with Holly and Hannah, two devout Scripture quoting murderous women. That doesn't smack of lazy bigoted writing now, does it? But it does prod me once again to actually pen that Hex and Christianity piece that has been rolling around in the back of my head for a decade now.

Next Issue: Back East, an error in the timeline?, and Starman appears.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Jonah Hex V2 #25 "My Name is Nobody"

Jonah Hex V2 #25 Jan. '08
"My Name is Nobody"
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray - story, Russ Heath - art, Garres - cover

Mexico, 1899

We are treated to excerpts from An Oral History on the Old West, co-written by Woodson Hex, private detective in the 1930's and 40's. During the recap of Jonah's life we see the aged bounty hunter setting up camp overlooking a desert valley. Off in the distance, dust clouds rise, driven skyward by several men on horses being chased by other mounted riders. Jonah figures it's bandits running from the local law so he takes cover so that he has a chance against the fifteen desperadoes. 

  As the bandits get closer, Jonah picks off one and the rest scatter. The bandits regroup, trying to decide how best to flank the unknown gunman up the rocks. Meanwhile, Jonah bides his time, hoping he can hold them off long enough for the rurales to show up. Jonah unloads his pack mule and lets it wander off into the mountains. He pulls out a photo of Mei Ling and a young boy, about the age of ten. 

  Jonah takes up a vantage point with his rifle. Soon enough, one fo the bandits tries to make a move and Jonah kills him. Drawing a bead with his rifle, he spots the backside of another bandit and Jonah manages to shoot the pistol in the man's holder. The bandit jumps from cover and.... thirteen left.

  The bandit leader shouts to Jonah to stop shooting his men. Jonah replies that it might be safer for them to turn themselves in. The Bandit asks Jonah's name to which Jonah replies with rifle fire. Five bandits suddenly rush Jonah and ..... nine left. That's when Jonah notices that they shot and killed his horse.

  The bandit leader tells Hex that they need his location to ambush the rurales. He asks Jonah's name again, announcing that HE is Jesus Escobar Ramirez. Jonah replies that he is Jonah Hex. The bandit's stare at each other and then decide Hex is lying. Everyone knows that Jonah Hex is dead. 

  They rush him once more, managing to hit him in the left shoulder but Jonah takes down three more of them....six left. Another quick attack and Jonah takes out two more, the rest coming at him with knives. Jonah smashes one in the head with a pistol and starts punching the crap out of him to boot. The others come up, about to shoot Jonah in the back of the head when a hail of bullets cut them down. Jonah kicks his combatant over the edge of a cliff.

  The rurales have arrived in time. A man leading them doesn't appear to be Mexican. The man says that Hex looks familiar, maybe they know each other? Jonah says that the man doesn't know him.

  Later that evening in a cantina the man offers to buy Hex a drink, asking his name. Jonah replies with  "Mister Albano".  Jonah says that he would like to drink alone. The man introduces himself as Jason Hex. He's a tracker, helping the locals. Jason says that the Mexicans ain't against folks of mixed blood as much as the folks up north. He is half Celestial on his mother's side and his father was a bounty hunter... and that's when Jonah attacks him. 

  They get into a knock-down drag out fight which ends with Hex on the floor and Jason holding a iron on him. Jason says he has no intention of killing Jonah, he only wants to talk. Jonah says they have nothing to talk about. Jason asks if Jonah wants to know about Mei Ling. Hex states he ain't the one that left and folks have a right to do as they like. Jason states that Mei Ling is dead and that not everyone dies from a bullet. Jason still wants to talk but Jonah has none of it.

  He says that what you see is what you get and that's the reason Mei Ling took Jason away. She didn't want Jason to know him and that's that. Jonah exits the cantina and meets a Mexican woman in the street, holding a baby. She tells Jonah, who is still drinking from a bottle, that the stuff will kill him. Jonah replies that he hopes it does.

  Jonah mounts up as the woman approaches Jason as he, too, exits the cantina. She asks who that ugly old man was. Jason takes the child from her arms and answers "That was nobody".

Statistics for This Issue
Men Killed by Jonah - Eleven. The Banditos didn't fare well against Elder Hex.
Running Total - 664 (432 past, 55 future, 15 Vertigo, 172 V2)
Jonah's Injuries -Shot in the left shoulder.
Timeline - At most, one day and a night.

Rape Percentage -  32% (8 out of 25).

One the greater Hex tales because of so many things. Russ Heath is back and illustrating another tale of 'old' Hex, we meet Jason as an adult trying to reconcile a meeting with his absent father, Jason's quick appearance of Jason's wife and his son, a quick nod to Mr. Albano, the black borders, and a slight reference to Johnny Cash (Boy Named Sue lyric "and ya got the right" vs. Jonah's "Ya earned the right.").

We see so many people encounter Hex and die a quick death, friends that pass through and are forgotten. Any time we are treated to something that builds upon the Hex family tree or revisits a known character, I feel that we are getting a deeper glimpse into the agony, tragedy, and the tortured mind of our favorite bounty hunter. 

Next Issue: A heavy Tarantino influence and ya never wanna watch the sausage getting made.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Next DC film announced....

  Hot on the heals of the Spielberg directed Blackhawks movie, Warner Brothers announced today that the next hero to hit the big screen will be none other than Ambush Bug. Kevin Tsujihara was quoted at the press conference today "Warner Brothers loves and values all of the DC properties and it is our intention to expand the DCMU in new unexpected ways, exploring the vast possibilities offered by our wealth of characters. In no way do we plan on following the tired overworked formula that Marvel has set down of constantly doing multiple origin films with the hero battling a villain with the same powers as the hero."

  When asked how Warner Brothers would be handling the odd-ball character of Ambush Bug, Tsujihara replied, "Ambush Bug is unique in the DC universe in that he is a whimsical comical character that realizes he is in a comic book. Therefore, I'm proud to announce that Quentin Tarantino has signed on to direct the film and we are shooting for an NC-17 rating. It's about time that Warner Brothers broke through that barrier of only making 'kiddie comic book' movies." Tsujihara outlined the plot as Irwin Schwab learns how to teleport after being bitten by a radioactive space spider and faces off against Rad-Space-Spider Guy or something along those lines.

  Tarantino was all smiles fielding questions about casting saying that we was really looking forward to working with DeNiro (Argh! Yle!), T.J. Miller (Cheeks), Carrot Top (Go Go Chex),  Margo Robbie (Jonni DC) and Sacha Baron Cohen (Julius Schwartz). When quizzed about Johnny Depp possibly signing on to play Darkseid, Tarantino just smiled and said "We'll have to see what surprises I can cook up with Neveldine and Taylor. They knocked it out of the park on their last graphic novel screenplay and I'm sure we can expect more of the same again."

  When asked about his familiarity with the character, Tarantino responded, "I've been reading Ambush Bug comics ever since I was a little kid back in the 70's when he first appears in Challengers of the Doomed. I think I really have a handle on the dark sinister brooding that the character brought to the turbulent 70's and I'm really looking forward to updating that for today's audience. I mean, really, what is missing from movies today is a doped up, foul mouthed, gender confused vigilante and Ambush Bug is just the character to fill that void. The kid gloves are off once we get that NC-17 rating and I'm sure I can pepper the script with enough f---'s, n----'s, q-------'s and m-------------------------'s to get what we want."

  In a nod to the creator of Ambush Bug, Keith Giffen will be designing the movie poster which will feature an extreme closeup of the title character with huge blocks of black so nobody can tell what it is. Matching Dragoons managed to get an early peek at the poster.

  Ambush Bug is slated for a February 2019 release.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Weird Western Tales #46 "The Savage Streets"

Weird Western Tales #46 May/June 1978

"The Savage Streets"
Gerry Conway, story - Dick Ayers & George Evans, art - Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, cover

March, 1862. St. Louis, Mo.

We see Scalphunter climbing up the outside of a building, knife wielded between his teeth. Two days have passed since last issue and he has finally made his way back here searching for Bat Lash. Scalphunter makes his way, via rooftop, to the warehouse of Cyrus Calhoun. He overtakes the guards, killing both of them and then breaks into Calhoun's study, demanding to know the location of Bat Lash.

  At knifepoint, Calhoun spills the info that Lash was taking the Gatling Gun and was going to auction it off to the highest bidder. Scalphunter demands Lash's location but Calhoun says that he doesn't know, the army doesn't know, everyone is looking for Bat Lash. He says that lash had stayed at the Grand Hotel earlier and Scalphunter tosses him aside, crashing Calhoun's skull against a nearby safe.

  Scalphunter moves off into the night, making his way through the shadows of the city in search of Bat Lash.

  We find Mr. Lash a lot easier for he is in the Hotel St Louis, in the company of two 'lovely' French ladies. As they are about to kiss, two men kick in the door, shouting and Lash dispatches them quickly with the help of Mr. Colt. Bat goes through the dead men's pockets, finding Confederate money. He steals one last kiss and departs just as the sheriff arrives.

  Under cover of dark, he makes his way down to the riverfront, sneaks into a warehouse and checks on his precious Gatling Gun. He wanted to be sure that General Beauregard Smith, a bidder in the upcoming auction, hadn't made off with the prize weapon while bat was combating the General's hired goons. Lash decides to spend the night with his prize to insure its safety.

  Just down the street at the Hotel Grand, Scalphunter inquires at the front desk of Bat Lash. The clerk insults Scalphunter and tells him to leave, but when Scalphunter grabs him by the collar and pulls him across the counter, the clerk realizes that the Indian is a white man and apologizes. A couple of other men comes up, asking if Scalphunter is a friend of Lash's and attack him. Scalphunter engages in the fight, picking one man up and hurling across the clerks' desk just as the other man gets off a shot that's creases Scalphunter's...well, scalp, knocking him out. The men gather up his limp form and take him to Gen. Beauregard.

  Dawn, and Scalpunter finds himself tied to a post in the company of the General. Smith puts forth a plan wherein Scalphunter will help him obtain the Gatling Gun for the Confederacy. Smith explains that since the Confederacy's cash reserves are frozen in northern banks, he plans to steal the weapon. Smith wants Scalphunter to tell him where the gun and Lash are located.

  Scalphunter says that he doesn't know, Lash is his enemy and if Smith unties him, he will help Smith on one condition...Scalphunter gets to kill Lash afterward. Smith smiles the smile of a man who has instantly struck a bargain.

  About an hour later (less, actually), Smith and some other men meet with Lash in the warehouse. Bat is perched high atop some crates, shotgun in hand, overseeing the auction. The bidding starts with Mr. Samson, representing the USA, ponying up $5,000 (about $122k today). The second man, Cyrus Calhoun, puts forth $7,000 and Gen. Smith raises it to $10,000. Bat inquires as to if that is Federal or Confederate dollars. Smith states that it would be Confederate, of course, and Lash declares his bid invalid.

  Just then Scalphunter jumps down from a skylight, smashing Bat Lash to the floor. Smith pulls a pistol, mounts up onto the wagon containing the Gatling Gun, and bolts out of the warehouse. Scalphunter is left with the unconscious Lash, Calhoun and Samson. He pulls his knife, weighs his options and then runs into the street, stealing a nearby horse.

  Later, twenty miles from St. Louis (probably near present day Maryville, Mo.) Gen. Smith is setting up an ambush for a US patrol. Scalphunter is on a rocky outcropping, overlooking the General, and he pulls his knife, ready to pounce. Suddenly Bat Lash grabs him by the ankle and pulls a pistol. Scalphunter kicks it out of Lash's hand and dives onto Lash. They battle hand to hand and Lash suddenly flips Scalphunter and explains that the General can't kill anyone with that gun because he removed the......

  Scalphunter knocks Lash out and heads to stop Smith. Just then the US patrol shows up and Smith shouts out to them that he is General Smith pf the Confederacy and that they are cowards. The patrol rushes him. Smith starts to crank the handle but it won't move. He is cut down in a hail of Union gunfire as Scalphunter watches.

  Heading back to St. Louis, Lash explains that he did it for the money but he couldn't let anyone get killed by that gun so he pulled the cotter pins from the crank handle so it wouldn't turn. Lash asks Scalphunter what is plans are. Brian states that his sister lives with the whites. He'll find word of her in St. Louis and he will look for her and find her. The two men part ways.

Statistics for this Issue
Men Killed by Scalphunter - Two warehouse guards.
Running Total - 85
Compared to Jonah Hex- Eight appearances in and Scalp has 85 vs Jonah's 39
Scalps Taken - 0
Running Total- 12
Injuries - Gut punched, bullet across the scalp. 
Timeline - Two days prior, one night and the next day. So we have spent four days in March, 1862.

Not a bad book overall. Some twists and turns. I especially enjoy the interaction between Scalphunter and Bat Lash, the savage of morals against the gentlemen of scoundrels. Conway's writing can be a little heavy handed, but that is to be expected when your main character doesn't spend half the book spouting forth exposition.

 Of course, a Lopez cover for me to drool over, never hurts.

Next Issue: The Search for his sister, Pit Fighters, and a Surprise from the Past!

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Jonah Hex V2 #24 "All Hallows Eve"

Jonah Hex V2 #24 Dec. '07
"All Hallows Eve"
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray - story, David Michael Beck - art and cover

Two men are in full blown knock-down drag-out fight in a bar. One man is knocked out and a local official checks him out and announces the fallen man is dead. In the crowd observing is Jonah Hex and Bat Lash, discussing pugilism, with Bat explaining that only a trained fighter can withstand a beating from another fighter. Hex replies with, "Wanna bet?" and then sheds his shirt, but not his hat nor sidearms, to take on the winner, Bluett Boyd. 

  The fight proceeds and ends up being a two-swing affair, with Boyd missing and Hex connecting resulting in Boyd kissing the floor. A young man runs into the saloon with a telegram for Jonah and he heads out, with Lash tailing behind, uninvited.

Halloween in Hell Town

Three weeks later: Hex and Lash are riding into Coffin Creek under cover of darkness. They ride up to the local brothel and Hex encounters the madam, Crystal Ray Adercrombie. Hex asks why she hasn't asked other gunmen to help her out and Crystal explains that Bill Bradley outta Kansas came and tried to oust this man from Crystal's establishment, with no effect. Hex, Lash, & Crystal head up to room 9 and right before Jonah heads inside to evict this unwelcome guest, Crystal tells him that Bradley, right before leaving town, said that the man in room specifically asked for Jonah Hex.

Hell's Vengeful Assassin

In the room is none other than El Diablo and Jonah demands to know where Lazarus Lane is located. El Diablo unleashes his whip, wrapping it around Jonah's neck, bringing Jonah to his knees. Diablo states that the town is marked for death this All Hallow's Eve. Diablo has been imprisoned in the room so as not to interfere in the town's fate. A prairie witch by the name of Esmeralda Moorland lured Lazarus Lane away from Diablo and unless Lazarus and Diablo are reunited within three hours, Diablo will return to Hell and the entire town will die. 

Beams of unholy fire burst forth from Diablo's eyes, bathing Hex in fire.

Hunting the Supernatural

Hex steps from the room, his eyes glowing with fire and his voice twisted into that of Diablo. Hex tells Lash to follow him and they walk out into the street. We get to see the town through the eyes of Lash, everything looks normal, as well as through Hex's eyes, wherein everyone is a twisted misshapen demon. 

Walking up to the saloon, Hex demands two men produce Lazarus Lane and then he shoots both of them, rendering them both into flaming skeletons. Once inside the saloon, Lash sees Lane bound and gagged, hanging from lantern fixture in the ceiling. Everyone in the saloon, possessed by Esmeralda, is eating the raw remains of a freshly slaughtered bovine that is spread out across the bar. They all mutter the name of Hex. 

The witch commands that they all kill both Hex and Lash and the gunfight ensues. Hex's shots render the townsfolk into flaming skeletons while Lash's bullets produce only normal effects. Lash takes note of the fact and Jonah tosses a sidearm to Bat. The gun, while smoking hot from the fires of hell, only shoots regular bullets while being wielded by someone other than one possessed by Diablo. Jonah unleashes the whip and cuts Lane down, ordering Lash to take him back to the hotel. Bat is quick to comply.

Jonah and Esmeralda fight it out in the bar while Bat Lash tries to make it back across the street, but all hell has broken out  with townsfolk slaughtering each other in the street. Lash finds his way to the brothel barred by two men. He takes them out with a flourish of playing cards and a well placed boot tip and then dives through a window.

Back in the saloon, Hex and the witch continue to battle when suddenly, with a burst of flame, El Diablo appears. Using his fire whip, he entraps the witch and liberates her head from her body. Bat lash enters the saloon saying that the town is returning to normal.

Dawn the next morning finds Jonah and Bat in the company of Crystal and one of her ladies. Bat is recounting the time he saved Jonah. Finally, Jonah announces that he is hitting the hay and the lady goes upstairs with him. At the top of the stairs, Hex and his companion encounter Lazarus Lane, who thanks Jonah for his help. Grabbing Lane by the neck and driving a finger into his chest, Jonah replies with "Yer welcome."

Bat Lash invites Lane to a hand or two of cards, but Lazarus states that he has overstayed his welcome in Coffin Creek and will be leaving soon.

Statistics for This Issue
Men Killed by Jonah - We see 7 killed by Jonah, but there were probably more in the saloon. I'll stick with 7.
Running Total - 653 (432 past, 55 future, 15 Vertigo, 161 V2)
Jonah's Injuries - Possessed by the devil himself.
TimelineThree weeks of travel and a night or two? Let's settle on 22 days and this one takes place after "An Eye for an Eye".
Rape Percentage -  34% (8 out of 23)

  I wasn't a big fan of this one. I really enjoy Bat Lash, especially with Hex, but I have always have (and always WILL) enjoy Jonah outside of the regular DC Universe with all of its supernatural and superheroic trappings. Lazarus Lane is an interesting character when handled by J and J, but Diablo doesn't fit into my vision of Hex's world. And Beck's artwork just doesn't do it for me, something is always slightly 'off', it tries too hard to be photographic. It looks traced, maybe?

Oh well, make of it what you will.

Next Issue: We teeter on the brink of the turn of the century and get a surprise visit from the past.