Saturday, June 30, 2007

A quick word of explanation

SallyP has been having a hard time understanding JLA 159. To explain, Jonah's horse can fly (without wings) and his six-shooter fires some sort of energy beam. Also, he can take an uppercut from Hawkman & not flinch. Why? Cuz this is the Jonah from Earth-27? Cauz the Lord of Time gave the heroes from the past some sort of super-powers? Cuz Gerry Conway was huffing when he wrote this?

Anyway, here is the evidence.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Night Fights

Bahlactus has been holding Friday Night Fights for some time & I have noticed a derth of Wild West Fightin'. Therefore, I present Jonah Friggin Hex, tied to a chair in a burning cabin and he manages to kick the living crap out of the Chameleon.

I think that is better than gettinig hit with a car battery, don't you?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Justice League of America #159 "Crisis from Yesterday!"

Justice League of America #159 Oct, 1978
"Crisis from Yesterday!"
Gerry Conway, story - Dick Dillin & Frank McLaughlin, art - Rich Buckler & Dick Giordano, cover

It's hard to understand why this book was published around the same time as the Jonah Hex Spectacular. It's like they had to balance the best Jonah Hex story with the worst Jonah Hex story.

Oh lord, where do I start? I wanted to love the JLA during this time and I suffered through the Dick Dillin art. I never ever enjoyed anything that this man drew but this was the annual JLA/JSA team-up, so I had to buy it.

Also, Jonah Hex was on the cover. I slammed down my 50 cents and dove into the book. Then I threw up in my mouth...a lot. But I shouldn't attempt to sway the jury on this one.

The JLA & JSA are meeting in Club 22 on Earth-1. There is a lot of partying and emoting, some of which I will describe here:
  • Batman, looking at Huntress wonders what it would be like to get married and wonders if he envies his Earth-2 counterparts retirement or his child?
  • Green Arrow & Hawkman get drunk and become all palsy-walsy
  • Elongated Man gives publicity advice to the Star-Spangled Kid
  • Oh, the wall explodes and Superman has a chance to shout "Who are THEY?!?!?!"
Then we break to 3786 in another dimension. The Lord of Time is talking to his huge living computer. The computer is telling the LoT that it has successfully nabbed 5 people from the past and dropped them in July 15, 1978. LoT rattles on about being able to use the computer to build this refuge outside the time-stream where he could work his horrible plans. Plans that include learning how to stop time itself. Of course, LoT orders the computer to stop time and then realizes that he can't recind the order or tell the computer to put thinsg back. The stoppage of time will result in.... something too horrible for the LoT to even think about.

LoT then devised a plan of snatching 5 heroes from the past, give them super-powers and have them attack the JLA/JSA.

We return to 1978 to see a tri-plane, two flying horses and a flying viking ship cause the building to collapse onto the JLA/JSA and defeat them. Then we are introduced to Viking Prince, Jonah Hex, Enemy Ace, Miss Liberty, & The Black Pirate. They all recount how they we abducted from their own times, brought together and then ordered to fight our heroes. They also talk about how they can understand each other but they also heard a voice that gave them orders, but none of them can remember what the voice said. The five heroes do a minor freak out and Miss Liberty suggests they go to a place she knows where they can figure this out.

Moments later, Superman busts out from under the rubble of the collapsed restaurant. He helps uncover several of the other heroes. Oddly some of them seem to suffer from some kind of Conway-Coma. Wonder Woman of Earth-1, Black Canary, Green Arrow, & Hawkwoman are all taken to a nearby hospital, while th eremaining heroes follow a chronal energy trail that Superman has detected.

Flash, Huntress, Dr. Mid-Nite, Elongated Man & Wonder Woman (Earth-2) pile into Wonder Woman's invisi-jet while Hawkman, Superman and the Star-Spangled Kid fly alongside. They end up at Valley Forge and end up getting attacked by Viking Prince and the Black Pirate riding a flying Viking Boat. Viking Prince manages to lay the smackdown on Flash and Black Pirate cuts down Wonder Woman and Elongated Man. Superman, Hawkman & SSK end up on the losing end of Jonah Hex, Enemy Ace & Miss Liberty. The Huntress and Dr. Mid-Nite don't fare well either.

At the end, all of our heroes are unconscious and the five from the past are sent to 3786. The five are placed on a statis-shelf outside the LoT castle and everything fits into the LoT's plan. LoT knows that when the JLA/JSA suffers a beatdown, they rally and come back stronger than ever. He is banking on them being able to defeat his computer because in five hours the computer will stop all of time and it will never get started again.

Statistics for this issue:
Men killed by Jonah: It's a JLA book!!! zero
Jonah's Injuries: None, he's a guest star
Timeline: Who really cares?

This story stinks, but you want to know about Jonah, don't you? Here is all of Jonah's dialogue:

Yup, that makes me want to rush out & start reading Jonah Hex.

Next Issue: Believe it of not, it gets worse. Yup, they bring in a toad-frog from Hell.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Jonah Hex #17 "Voyage to Oblivion"

Jonah Hex #17 Oct 1978
"Voyage to Oblivion"
Michael Fleisher, story - Vincente Alcazar, art - Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, cover

The DC EXPLOSION continues!! Charleston, South Carolina, on the edge of the ocean. Jonah is standing near the beach next to a hot air balloon speaking with the owner of the balloon. The man has contacted Jonah in order to have Jonah pilot the balloon across the Atlantic to Europe for a reward of $5,000. $5,000 sounds like a lot of money, but since Jonah normally rakes in $10,000 or more whenever he guns down a few guys, this is chicken feed. Jonah turns down the offer and turns away to mount his horse.

The scientist starts pleading with Jonah, but in the end smashes a large wrench across the back of Jonah's head, knocking him out. The scientist, noting that the prevailing winds won't be to his advantage for another 6 months, loads Jonah into the basket. He also notes that someone has to stay behind to make improvements in case the flight fails. He casts away the lines holding the balloon and as it starts to lift off, Jonah awakens. Jonah stands up and looks over the edge of the basket. Realizing what is happeneing, Jonah reaches down and grabs the man by the coat lapels.

The balloon continues to rise and the scientist is begging to be released. Jonah says that his plans are to haul the man aboard so that HE can pilot the balloon. Jonah starts pulling the man in as the balloon is already up to a dizzying height. Suddenly the man's coat lapels rip off and the scientist plummets to his death. Looking at the cloth still clenched in his fist, Jonah says that when he gets back to Charleston that he should write a letter to that man's tailor.

Sadly, the scientist's calculations were of the same quality as the cloth in his suit. For three days & nights, the balloon take a southernly track through the Carribbean and on down so that it is just east of Brazil. By this time Jonah has figured out how to lower the balloon by pulling a release cord, but this has done him no good since he has been over the ocean the entire time. He has found a telescope in the basket and he sees a large ship out on the ocean.

Of course, the ship has a telescope as well and they have spotted Jonah's balloon. Knowing that similar balloons were used for reconnaissance during the Civil War, assume that they are being spied on. As the ship draws closer to moving under Jonah's balloon, two crewmen are called up to the deck and ordered to shoot the balloon. Needless to say, this isn't in Jonah's plans and he ends up taking a quick dunk in the drink.

Once on board, the captain demands to know why Jonah was spying and what he knows about the cargo. Jonah sticks to the truth, that he was tossed into the balloon & that the entire trip is an accident. The captian doesn't believe Jonah and orders him strapped to the mast and flogged. Jonah responds in typical Hex fashion, he beats the living tar out of the crew, handing out a few testicle realignments with his boot. But he is finally overwhelmed, knocked out, strapped to the mast and flogged forty times. He does pass out from the pain.
Before the crew can unstrap Jonah, the navigator comes running up to the captain, talking about a course correction that he has made. The captain is livid, stating that this new course will take them right past the Isle of Palms. The captain handily (hee hee, handily, Isle of Palms, hee hee) slaps down the navigator, explaining that the Isle of Palms is a haven for cannibals. The captain orders that Jonah be shackeled and thrown down with the cargo.

When Jonah finally come to, he finds that he is on a ship full of African slaves headed for South America! Jonah is chained up along with the slaves but quickly is addressed by Mbwasi, the king of the Mwasbwe tribe that has been enslaved. The king knows a little English, enough for buying & selling with English traders (so he says). Mbwasi also introduces Cricket, the black cabin boy who has also been cast down into the ship's hold for displeasing the captain. Jonah wastes no time in escaping by pulling his knife from his boot and manages to pick the locks on everyone's handcuffs.

Mbwasi has his warriors gather together the spears that they have been able to create by pounding iron barrel stays into points. The spear shafts are made from wood that they have pulled from the hull of the ship. To insure victory, Mbwasi has rubbed a magic amulet against all of the spears. Jonah notices that the amulet is made of flint and quickly hatches a plan.

Later that night, during a huge storm, Jonah uses the flint to start a fire using a bunch of straw in the cargo area. When one of the sailors goes down into the hold to put out the fire, Jonah throttles him with a length of chain. The next sailor down the stairs ends up with a spear his chest. Cricket says that he knows where some guns are kept and he will fetch them. Jonah asks Mbwasi if Cricket is trustworthy but the king is not sure.

Cricket heads straight to the captain's cabin to warn him about the slaves breaking free but

...the king makes sure that Cricket will never betray them again. The captain quickly responds and shoots the king dead. Jonah takes the rest of the warriors and rushes the crew.

Through the night the fight rages on with Jonah and the warriors taking control of the wheelhouse. the captain shouts through the storm that Jonah jas them outnumbered, but unless they release control of the wheelhouse, everyone will die in the storm. Jonah puts on a slicker and climbs along the side of the ship until he is behind the captain and his men. Jonah manages to kidnap the navigator and bring him back to the wheelhouse. Jonah then heads out to get some lifeboats ready, just in case.

He encounters the captain whose pistol is drawn to kill Jonah. Hex swiftly swings the lifeboat, knocking the captain overboard into the raging seas. Jonah heads back to the wheelhouse to learn that the warriors have killed the navigator and now they are heads for a reef.

Jonah does his best to steer away from the rocks, but the boat breaks apart, throwing everyone into the water. Jonah and some of the slaves manage to crawl on some wreakage and last through the rest of the storm. The next day they are rescued by natives in canoes but the natives are all sporting blue faces, indicating that they are the cannibals that the captain was worried about. Jonah and the slaves are all pulled aboard and taken to the closest island.

Once on land, Jonah is held captive, but the slaves intervene, attempting to communicate with the cannibals. Through some rough sign language, the slaves tell that Jonah was the one that saved them. The cannibals load a canoe up with supplies and indicate that Jonah is free to go. Jonah tries to tell the slaves that the cannibals are going to kill them and eat them but he fails. Finally, realizing that his skin is still in danger, he takes the canoe and paddles away.

Statistics for this issue
Men killed by Jonah - Hmmm, I'll have to go with two. Unintentionally dropping the scientist counts and then throttling the sailor with the chain.
Running Total - 169
Jonah's Injuries - Knocked out and whipped forty times. That is sure to leave a mark (& the scars show up in Jonah Hex Vol 2 #2)
Timeline: There is no guarantee that this takes place after the whizbang of a trial last issue. Until I see evidence to the contrary I reserve judgement of placing this in the timeline.

Again, 25 pages to fill up but Fleisher does a pretty good job. I loved the idea of Jonah being adrift and then ending up at sea. Also, Jonah is thrown into a situation rubbing his face in slavery that he at one time fought to keep (but he did leave the Confederacy to his credit on this issue). I didn't care for Mbwasi picking up 'some' English and then shouting "Die, lackey dog of the white man." I don't know, but I think 'lackey' just doesn't come up in friendly trade agreements. I'm not sure that it even comes up in unfriendly trade agreements. Playing Settlers of Catan I usually use the word Bastard or Unrepentant Heretic during an unfriendly trade.

The 'escape' from the cannibals seemed a little rushed, ironic since we had 25 pages to work with. At the end of this issue I was actually wincing, because I just knew in my heart of hearts that next issue Jonah would be in Wyoming, without a word being said about this side-trip.
Boy, was I wrong..

Next Issue:
Pig-eating snakes, a hidden Brazilian treasure, quicksand, pits with sticks, and a rubber tree plant....ation.

Also next week:
I'll take a look at Jonah's first appearance in Justice League of America. Bring your air-sickness bags and shield your children's eyes. It won't be pretty.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Avert your eyes!!

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Yup, that's right, we're bad!!! According to Mingle2, we're waaaaaay too violent. Why you may ask? Well, the folks at Mingle tell me:

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

  • knife (9x)
  • kill (8x)
  • death (7x)
  • shoot (3x)
  • dick (2x)
  • hells (1x)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Jonah Hex #16 "The Wyandott Verdict!"

Jonah Hex #16 Sept. 1978
"The Wyandott Verdict!"

Michael Fleisher - story, Vincente Alcazar - art, Rich Buckler & Frank Giacoia, cover

Michael Fleisher is back in the saddle right from the start of the DC EXPLOSION with a 25 page story to finish out the framed Jonah storyline. Diving right into the action, Jonah's horse has fallen and broken it's leg, putting Jonah on foot trying to outrun a posse of vigilantes, set on hanging him. Jonah manages to make it to a cave and he starts looking for a back way out.

Outside the posse already knows about the exit and they send a couple of men there to light brush on fir and toss it into the cave. Jonah finds the exit, but gunfire prevents him from escaping and soon the cave is filled with smoke from the brushfires. Jonah runs out, coughing for air, and the posse nab him, tie him, beat him and then commence with hanging him. They explain that they aren't interested in justice or the reward since they knew the men that Jonah is accused of murdering. They place Jonah on a hrose, put a noose around his neck and slap the horse's behind, causing the horse to take off and leave Jonah dangling from the tree. The posse, their work done, leave Jonah twitching and dancing at the end of the rope.

Nearby, there is a man in some bushes, watching the entire scene. To quote the thoughts of the mystery man "N-no! H-He can't die! He can't! Not after all I've endured! N-Not after all I've suffered! For months I've dogged his footsteps..stood within inches of him when he least suspected it ... all the while crafting a retribution worthy of my greatness! And now to see him hanging there, gasping his life away, snatched from my grasp by a bunch of brutal vigilantes! It's more than I can.."

It is my humble opinion that is Fleisher took several months off to craft this wrapup of Framed Jonah, he should have taken another day or two to trim out some of the melodrama. But, this is the DC EXPLOSION and they have pages to fill. That little speech took up three panels.

Back to the story where we find two men trying to save Jonah. A black man, Joseph, is in the tree trying to cut the rope, while an elderly white man, Tobia Nostrum, is trying to hold Jonah up to keep him from hanging. Together they get Jonah down and loaded into their wagon. Nostrum keeps insisting that no matter what a man has done, he is entitled to a fair trial and not a hanging by vigilantes. As they ride off, the mystery man in the bushes is elated. They have saved Jonah Hex, they have saved him for .... WAIT, the mystery man won't say his own name out loud because SOMEONE COULD BE LISTENING!! Do we actually have the fourth wall in a Jonah Hex story????

Jonah awakens in the cabin of Tobias Nostrum. Nostrum makes introductions all around and states that he knows who Jonah is and that he is wanted in nearby Wyandot. Nostrum assures Jonah that they have taken every precaution by removing the bullets from Jonah's guns. Nostrum believes that criminals should be brought to justice via science and not by mobs. Jonah protests his innocence and Nostrum is fascinated at the prospect that Jonah could have been framed.

Joseph goes out into the night to get some firewood, but he is suddenly attacked from behind and a knife is thrust into his heart. The attacker drags Josephs body into the brush and shortly we see the killer head to the cabin. Inside, Nostrum is explaining concepts of fingerprinting and ballistics, saying that he can possibly use these to determine who framed Jonah. Joseph comes back in with the firewood (!?!?!?) Nostrum decides that to compare ballistic patterns they will have to exhume the bodies, so they head out in the night to rob graves.

Several hours later, Jonah, Nostrum, and Joseph are in a cabin by the cemetery. They have a corpse on a table and Nostrum tells Joseph to stand guard outside. Outside, joseph's speech patterns change from the stereotypical to mimic the mysterious man in the bush that saw Jonah hanged. 'Joseph' unhooks the horse from the wagon and heads off.

In Wyandott, the sheriff is cleaning his rifle when there is a knock on the door. A young woman, a saloon girl, comes in and explains to the sheriff that she has seen Jonah Hex at the cemetery. the sheriff keeps trying to put the moves on her, but she manages to get away, and as she runs down an alley, we learn that she is the 'mystery man' (Holy Crying Game!!) .

Meanwhile, back at the grave-robbin'... Jonah hears something outside the small cabin that he & Nostrum are working in. Jonah goes outside to check on the noise and comes face to face with the sheriff and a posse with their guns drawn. Several days later (lets say 10) a couple of men are working on the scaffolding that the town will use to hang Jonah, after his fair trial, that is. And of course they are working on it right outside Jonah's jail cell.

In the jail, Jonah gets a visit from Nostrum. Nostrum has good news. The bullets that he dug out of the three corpses came from a single action Smith & Wesson pocket .38, a small inaccurate gun that a gunfighter would never use (and of course doesn't match Jonah's .45 Colt Peacemakers). But Nostrum went even farther. He traveled to the barn that Jonah had told him about and dug up Ned Landon, finding a .38 and was able to ID it as the murder weapon using ballistics. Nostrum has written it all down in a report and will present it at Jonah's trial tomorrow.

QUICK CUT!!! to The Man with the Eagle Topped Cane reading a newspaper about Jonah going to trial tomorrow in Texas. This man (who is, of course, Quentin Turnbull) has his identity hidden from us. Why? Probably because the last time we saw him identified was 11 issues ago and Fleisher assumes that everyone has forgotten. This gives a sloppy feel (at least to followers of Jonah) when Fleisher tries to generate suspense from something that has already been revealed and is also a major factor in the story. But I digress...

Quentin Turnbull is reading the paper, sees an article about Jonah on trial and the fact that Nostrum is going to testify on Jonah's behalf. Turnbull summons Solomon and instructs him to contact the Wilson boys, there is a job for them.

The next day Wyandott is packed to the gills with people as folks from all over try to squeeze into Gleason's Saloon to see the trial. Down the street at the Wyandott Hotel a man that looks like Nostrum picks the lock on the door to Nostrum's room. He ponders to himself about destroying the evidence. As he is ransacking the room, the real Nostrum comes in. The imposter stabs him and stuffs the body under the bed.

Shortly thereafter, 'Nostrum' appears before the court and is sworn in to testify. Back at the hotel, the Wilson boys (3, count 'em, 3 Wilson boys) point a pistol at the hotel clerk demanding to know where Nostrum's room is. The clerk informs them about the trial down the street. Brian (the ringleader), Bill (the whiner), and Alnert (who wears a bowler ?!?!?) all head down to the saloon to earn their money.

The defense attorney is asking 'Nostrum' the first question when the Wilson boys storm in, guns drawn, demanding to know who & where Nostrum is. 'Nostrum' reacts with a gasp, giving away his position and before the Wilson's can open fire, Jonah, in handcuffs, jumps up and headbutts Brian Wilson, then knees him in the crotch, dives to the floor to grab the dropped pistol and then rolling across the floor of the saloon, guns down Bill & Albert.

The judge is furious and eventually the trial gets back underway. 'Nostrum' begins his testimony by saying that the evidence proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jonah Hex killed all three men. The defense starts to protest when the real Nostrum, bleeding, staggers into the courtroom, states that Jonah is innocent and produces the notebook of evidence proving Jonah's innocence, then he drops dead.

The judge turns to 'Nostrum', demanding to know what is going on. 'Nostrum' then identifies himself as The Chameleon, master thespian!!! He rips off his mask, showing his horribly burned face. Still ranting at the top of his lungs, he states that he is about to shoot Jonah when STABIFICATION!!!, Jonah throws his knife right into Chammy's chest.

The judge declares Jonah innocent and demands that he be released. As Jonah rides out of town, the two men building the gallows start griping that they never got to use it and some days it don't pay to get out of bed.

Statistics for this issue
Men killed by Jonah - 3, two of the Wilson boys and the Chameleon
Running Total - 167
Jonah's injuries - None
Timeline - This wraps up the Hex, Fugitive saga so this is around 1877 or so.

Fleisher really tried to pack a lot into this 25 page saga. Did I like it? At times I really enjoyed it, the Chameleon, Turnbull hiring thugs on a moments notice, and the scientist on the cusp of CSI gives this story a Wild Wild West feel. Depending on my mood, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. So much time was spent on the Chameleon's impersonations that the ending felt rushed, even though it was a little funny. The last few panels went like this:
Rant rant rant rant REVEAL rant rant STABIFICATION!!!!! Release.

Next issue - The DC EXPLOSION continues as Jonah heads east, gets hoodwinked and then the cannibals show up.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A few minor changes...

Since I have finally caught up with the old issues of All-Star & Weird Western, I am going to revamp the NEXT WEEK blurbs to read NEXT ISSUE and the blurbs themselves will link to the next issue. Hopefully this will facilitate some easier reading, starting with All-Star 10 and following through to present day.

Jonah Hex #15 "Sawdust and Slow Death"

Jonah Hex #15 Aug 1978
"Sawdust and Slow Death"
David Michelinie, story - Vincente Alcazar, art - Rich Buckler & Giacoia, cover
(interior pictures will be posted at a later date)

Rail Gap, Kansas, 1875 (can you hear me screaming already?) the Colter Traveling Circus of Wonders and Amazing Animals is holding it's closing night show. The crowd is watching the Crimson Pistolero as he shoots six whiskey bottles in midair. Of course, the Pistolero is Jonah Hex with a purple bandana over his face. And of course, since he is Jonah Hex, he gets his pistol back into the holster before the bottle pieces hit the ground. As the crowd is applauding a local yokel stands up, shouting that it's harder hitting a target that shoots back. Of course, that's not true for the Crimson Pistolero and he proves it by shooting the pistol out of the rabble-rousers hand before anything can happen. The ringmaster, Mr. Pike, tells everyone that it's all part of the show.

Jonah then goes 'backstage' and talks to Paco, a dwarf that is also a clown. Then it's time for the star attraction and owner of the circus, Miss Sally Colter, who appears standing astride two galloping horses while also holding the reigns of three others ahead of her. She jumps off the horses' back and does a somersault through a ring of fire and lands on her feet to thunderous applause. After that is the big finale where all the freaks from the sideshows parade through the tent.

Jonah has a flashback to a few days prior when he came upon the circus and talked to Sally about hiring on as a sharpshooter. She introduces Jonah to Hannibal Pike, the ringmaster, an unlikable smarmy fellow that takes delight in belittling people and poking lions and other animals with his cane.

Back in the present, several more days pass and at another show we are treated to Maximillian, the armless knife thrower. He throws knives using his mouth and twisting his head quickly. Of course, Sally is his human target. Max throws knives one by one until Sally is surrounded by over a dozen knives. Then he takes two in his mouth and throws both at the same time with one landing on each side of Sally's neck. Sally never flinches and continues to smile happily.

After that act, while Captain Ed Yager is taming his ferocious jungle cats, several of the freaks sneak out of the back of the tent & go into town.

The freaks locate a man working into the night on a company payroll and they rob him of it. Hours later they return to the circus after the show has completed and the players are having dinner. Sally is thanking everyone for their hard work when Paco peeks into the tent and catches the attention of Pike. Pike leaves dinner and meets the freaks in his wagon, where they count the night's take of $1,300.13. Pike mentions that it is an odd amount and Paco sees it as an omen that they should stop stealing. Pike explains that the circus is on the verge of bankruptcy and without this extra income Miss Sally would lose everything and end up in the poorhouse. The freaks agree to keep stealing, only for Sally's benefit.

Once they are gone, Pike, of course, gloats that all the money is going into a personal bank account of his back east.

The next morning, everyone is tearing down the circus to head out of town. Paco comes hobbling across the circus grounds to taks to Jonah when a wagon of equipment slips it's brakes and hurtles toward Paco. Jonah dives forward, pushing Paco to safety. Paco thanks Jonah but Jonah says that Paco would have done the same for him. Another circus worker states that "we 'special' people have to stick together." Jonah appears to be startled at this acceptance of him.

Days later (let's say 4, just cuz), the circus arrives at it's next stop and holds a huge parade through town. That night, Pike gives Paco the name & address of their next 'mark'. Paco asks if Jonah can help this time & Pike declines, saying there is something about Jonah that he doesn't like. Jonah is too independant, like the lions, and Pike pokes at a lion with his cane. Pike then spots a marshall coming from the main tent.

Pike goes in the main tent to ask Sally what the law was doing. Sally explains that the sheriff said that there has been a series of robberies in the towns that the circus has performed in. Sally is going to call the circus together & see if anyone knows anything, because none of the workers would lie to her. Pike agrees with her and says that is what he is afraid of, then he smashes Sally's skull open with his cane. Pike then tears a piece off of Jonah's Crimson Pistolero mask and places it in Sally's hand and then leaves, planning on heading back east to his bank account.

A short time later, Jonah is in his tent washing up and talking with Paco. Paco says that he hopes that Jonah can stay with them for a long time, but Jonah says that he needs to be moving on soon. Just then the entire freak show walks in, holding Jonah responsible for Sally's death.Paco tries to stand up for Jonah, but the freaks will hear none of it. They usher Jonah over to the main tent and strap him to the knife-thrower's target.

Jonah tries to explain but the freaks start the knife-throwing act since they need a replacement for Sally. Maxamillian's first throw slices Jonah's left forearm, his second slices into Jonah's left thigh. A dwarf explains that Max's aim is off since he is so upset over Sally's death. Maxamillian is getting for the double knife finale (He can't miss with both knives) when Paco comes in holding a telegram that he found in Pike's wagon. The telegram is from a bank in Philadelphia confirming a deposit for $1,300.13. The freaks recognize is as the amount of their last robbery and realize that they have the wrong man.

Information is traded between all parties involved and Jonah is reunited with his pistols. A plan is hatched and, as Jonah states, since they have been used, they should start returning the favor.

A short time later, in the darkness, Pike is starting to sneak away to catch a train back east. Suddenly two bullets slam into the wagon side in front of him. Pike turns to see the sillouette of Jonah standing over by a tent. Pike starts to run, but a couple of shots hit the ground in front of him. He turns to run another direction. He runs a ways and then has to turn to avoid being shot. It's then that Pike realizes that since Jonah is an expert marksman, Jonah must be taunting Pike. Pike finds his only way out is to duck under the big tent. He crawls into the tent, into total darkness, and he hears an ominous CLANG behind him.

Slowly several lamps are lit and Pike finds that he is in a huge cage, surrounded by the circus workers, all holding lamps. Pike demands to know what is going on. Jonah walks over and says that since Miss Sally is gone, everyone thought the circus would need a new big act. That's why they moved the lion cage and 'invited' Pike to audition. Pike calls them crazy, saying that they won't get away with it. Jonah agrees "Mebbe not - but then, ah guess tuh some folks thet ain't important anymore.." There is another ominous clang as a gate opens, letting the lions, who have been constantly tormented by Pike, into the cage.

The last panel has Jonah walking away from the circus, casually flicking away his smoke, as we hear blood-curdling screams coming from the big tent behind him.

Statistics for this issue:
Men killed by Jonah - Even though Jonah was part of a plan to kill Pike, I'm still gonna give him credit for this kill. 1
Running Total - 164
Jonah's injuries - two knife wounds, left arm & left leg.
Timeline - Still part of the framed Jonah saga, but dates were blatantly given.

I can't let this date thing go, can I? 1875? But we have already established that it's probably 1877, haven't we? And there is no chance that this took place in 1874, is there? ARRRGHGHGH!

I really enjoyed this issue, even though I'm reading a lot more into it than is actually there. This is a nice revenge story patterned after the movie "Freaks!" Reading this story you assume a lot of information that is not overly explained. You know that Sally is a lovely woman, taking in and loving all kinds of people. You know that Pike is scum and enjoys tormenting man & animal alike. And you realize that the freaks are taking no joy in Pike's death, they know that it will not bring back Sally, but a price has to be paid, no matter how ugly that might be. I would put this in the upper quarter of Hex stories and the idea of circus freaks was visited again (twice) in the new series.

Next Issue: Stabbings, shootings, hangings, grave-robbing, ballistics and the DC Explosion in a 25 page story with The Wyandott Verdict!