Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jonah Hex #6 "The Lawman"

Jonah Hex #6 Nov 1977
"The Lawman"
Michael Fleisher, story - Ernie Chan & Noly Panaligan, art - Ernie Chan, cover

Jonah is still on the run and while he is bunked down in the middle of a thunderstorm he is caught unawares by U.S. Marshall Toby Ruster. Jonah attempts to explain his innocence, but Ruster will have no part of it. Ruster cuffs Hex and they both ride off.

After a time they come upon a river ferry and the ferry master explains that with all of the rain they won't be able to cross the rampaging river for about 3 days. Ruster offers to pay double, but the ferrymaster won't have any of it. Ruster tells the man that they will have to take turns guarding his prisoner, Jonah Hex. The ferrymaster jumps up & starts loading the the horses on the ferry. Ruster then cuffs himself to Hex to insure that Jonah doesn't try to escape.

Since this is a Jonah Hex comic & Jonah hates water, guess what happens. Yup, first of all the ferrymaster is tossed overboard into the drink and as Ruster is attempting to uncuff Hex so they can both try to pole the ferry across the river, Ruster is kicked in the head by a frightened horse and he drops dead, dropping the key into the river. Jonah, cuffed to a dead man, is unable to do anything to save the ferry and the whole shooting match ends up splintering on some rocks.

Further downstream we spy a young lady and a large young man on the riverbank (Emmylou and George). Emmy spies Jonh and Ruster in the water. George literally grabs a tree and shoves it into the river in order to drag them out. Jonah grabs onto the tree and before he can be pulled in, grabs the sheriff's badge and pins it on his coat. Once ashore, Jonah tells the pair that HE is Toby Ruster and the dead man is his prisoner. Emmy chastises George for talking to the 'Marshall' when it is obvious that he needs medical attention.

At the town doctor's office, Jonah is declared to be in fine health (Ruster is pronounced dead and is lying on a table next to Jonah since they are still cuffed together). George continues on with his talking, telling Jonah how he & Emmylou are getting hitched soon, to which Emmy stutters her agreement. Emmy continues to dote on Jonah, making sure his blanket is tucked properly & such. George tells her to leave Jonah alone since they have to see the blacksmith to get the cuffs off.

On the way to smithy, Jonah lie in the back of a wagon next to the wet rotting corpse while George rambles on about how isolated their town is, they get no visitors, no newspapers, no lawmen. Emmy tells George to put a sock in it. By now I'm not seeing a bright future for this couple. The smithy is able to get the cuffs off and Emmy tries to get some hot coffee into Jonah when a store owner runs into the smithy shop asking if it's true that there is a marshal in town. George starts in with the introductions, but the store owner tells them that the bank is being robbed and that Jonah has to stop them. Jonah grabs several sticks of dynamite (always a good sign) and heads out.

At the bank one of the outlaws is pulling a cart full of money when suddenly a lit stick of dynamite lands next to him, sending him on to meet his just reward. A couple of gunshots from the roof of the bank picks another off his horse and as the rest start to run off, Jonah tosses one last kaboom stick and kills one more robber.

Inside the bank, bank president Harold Jeffries is tied up. Emmy gushes over how great Jonah was & George says he could have done just as well. Emmy snaps back "maybe you could've, George, but you didn't." George gets hacked off & decides to talk a walk but Emmy apologizes and wants to go with him (in order to point out any flaws in the way George walks).

Down by the river, George starts telling Emmy about how he feels ignored and Emmy, proving his point, interrupts him to point out a dead horse in the river. George wades out to retrieve the saddlebag and finds a wanted poster with Jonah's picture on it. George decides to take it to Jeffries to see what should be done about the imposter in their midst.

It's nighttime by the time George gets back to town (since Emmy didn't go with him, he obviously got lost for several hours) and when he walks up to the bank he overhears Jeffries yelling at the men who tried earlier in the day to rob the bank. Jeffries says that he spent months planning the robbery & those fools let one guy with a gun & several sticks of dynamite run them off. Let me pause here and state that George earlier decided to take the poster to Jeffries because Jeffries was 'educated'. It took Jeffries months to plan a bank robbery in a bank that he is the president of and in a town with no sheriff. My opinion is that Jeffries is a moron and I'm surprised that George, who thinks Jeffries is educated, can walk & breath at the same time. Just my opinion. Now back to the story.

George is discovered eavesdropping and is murdered. The robbers find the wanted poster in George's hand and Jeffries, somehow, manages to hatch a plan to lure Jonah into the bank, have the gang kill him and then pin the successful bank robbery on a dead wanted Jonah Hex. They plan on saying that they killed him in the act of escaping but not before Jonah managed to hide the bank loot. So they are going to kill Jonah IN the bank, but somehow Jonah has managed to hide the loot? Is this the 1st national bank of Moronville?

Sorry, I'm tired & grumpy & my computer with the scanner is busted.

Anyway, Emmy overhears the robbers talking about this while they are loading dead George in a wagon. Emmy realizes that she must save Jonah and starts running all over town looking for him. She finally locates him walking down the street with Jeffries, on their way to the ambush in the bank. She shouts out "Marshal! Mr. Hex! Get Back!" and then she is gunned down. Jonah bashes Jeffries in the head and guns down the robber, which shot Emmy, on a balcony. Four more robbers appear and Jonah dives into the dirt, rolling, and shoots all four of them dead.

When he stands up, Jeffries is on his knees begging for his life. Jonah explains that if Emmy dies, he will come back & blow Jeffries head off.

The next day, a few upstanding citizens are telling Jonah that the doc says Emmy will be fine, George will still be dead, Jeffries will probably hang and that since Jonah is a fugitive from the law, they should put him in jail. However, seeing as how Jonah will probably ride off and every horse in town is lame, they can't get a posse up to chase him down. Jonah slowly rides out of town, tossing the marshal badge into the street.

Statistics for this issue
Men killed by Jonah - 8
Running Total - 133
Jonah's Injuries - well, none, surprisingly
Timeline - Part of the 'Wanted man' arc. We still haven't determined when this takes place, but I'm sure that we will get a clue or two later on.

I really didn't like this story (can you tell?). Everyone seemed so stupid, the town seemed too remote to even have a bank, and if Jonah hadn't come to town, Emmy & George would have ended up married and then in a homicide-suicide on their wedding night. However, this is not the worst Jonah story I have ever read, that one comes much much later & it's not in 'HEX' or even in the Vertigo line. You'll just have to wait for it.

Next Issue: -A flashback that is part one of Jonah's origin story, it has slavery, liquor and a Frenchman. Oui!


SallyP said...

I haven't read this one, but from your description, it does sound hilarious...in that "sometimes something is so bad that it's good" sort of way. George DOES sound like he has the mental capacity of a potato.

Sorry, that your scanner is still on the fritz.

Anonymous said...

I have some original comic book art that I want to sell. One of them is from a Jonah Hex comic. It has the full page as well as the comic book it appears in. I am in completely unfamiliar territory here. Can you tell me the best place/way to get the fairest price? Any help is appreciated.