Friday, July 10, 2009

Jonah Hex #80 "Day of the Rattler!"

Jonah Hex #80 Jan. 84
"Day of the Rattler!"
Michael Fleisher, story - Dick Ayers & Tony DeZuniga, art - Ross Andru, cover

JD Hart runs across the desert sands, sixguns blazing, frightening off the vultures that have started pecking at Jonah Hex's prone form. Hart reaches Jonah and detects a very faint heartbeat. He forces some water down Jonah and after a few minutes manages to get Jonah to his feet and they start heading towards Harts horse. They are suddenly interrupted by the local sheriff and his posse.

Hart identifies himself as a U.S. Marshall but the sheriff says it doesn't matter who brings Jonah Hex in, but Hex will be spending time in his jail.

The next morning, in the aforementioned jail, the local doctor pronounces that Jonah will be a lot better with a few days of rest. Once the doctor leaves, Hart asks the sheriff if he can speak with Jonah. The sheriff allows it.

Hart tells Jonah that he gathered all of Hex's gear but Jonah tells him it ain't that important, he needs Hart to fetch the letter from the Governor. Hart agrees to it and heads out at once. However, Hart doesn't know that he is being watched by Quentin Turnbull, who send out three of his goons to follow Hart and return with that letter.

Emmy Lou Hartley, meanwhile, is mulling over her love for Jonah Hex while she waits at the blacksmith for her horse to get new shoes.

Elsewhere, Mei Ling is leaving Jason Hex with her brother's family as she mounts her horse and rides off to find Jonah Hex herself.

Turnbull's goons lose sight of Hart but they come over a ridge to find his horse alone, grazing in a clearing. As they get closer, Hart suddenly drops from a tree and commences with the severe kicks to the head and the punches to the jaw. One goon manages to pull a pistol, but Hart shoots it from his hand and shoot the weapon four more times before the pistol drops from the sky square onto the head of the goon.

Sadly, Hart was unaware of the third goon, who rides up and pulls a rifle on Hart.

Emmy Lou rides into town and meets Jonah in jail. Jonah tells her not to worry, because Hart is getting the letter and everything will be fine. Emmy says that she loves Jonah and Jonah tells her that he loves her as well. The sheriff is sitting in his chair, eavesdropping and chuckling to himself when through the door walks Mei Ling.

Mei Ling asks if she can see Jonah Hex and the sheriff points her toward the cells, mentally making a note that all the hot blooded women go after the bad men.

Mei Ling walks in just in time to see Emmy & Jonah in a jail embrace. In an awkward moment, Mei Ling starts to leave, Jonah begs her to stay, and Emmy tells her not to go, she will leave, for Jonah has always loved Mei Ling more than herself. As she walks out crying, the sheriff thinks that he might be able to get lucky by picking up Jonah's castoff on the rebound.

Meanwhile, JD Hart is tied up in a cabin and is having to listen to the rants of Quentin Turnbull. Turnbull gives Hart until sundown to divulge the location of the Governor's letter or else.. On that note, Turnbull leaves.

Back at the jail, there is a traveling salesman who is about to unveil his wares. This salesman specializes in selling an electric chair. You merely strap the condemned into the chair and wait for a storm to come up and for lightning to strike the lightning rod that will zap the skull of the prisoner.

Inside the jail, Jonah is starting to get worried about how long it is taking Hart to return with the letter. Suddenly he hears a sound outside the jail. It is Man of Two Bloods. Man of Two Bloods states that a blood brother of a chief cannot possibly be guilty of murder so Man of Two Bloods honor demands that he free Jonah Hex. He quickly pulls several sticks of lit dynamite from behind his back and blows up the entire back wall of the jail.

Inside, the sheriff is rudely startled out of his daydreams about night things in the middle of the afternoon. He runs back into the jail to see the carnage and he unlocks the cell door to view the he in the wall. Just then Jonah steps out and clubs the sheriff over the head. Jonah wasn't going to leave without his pistols, hat & coat.

Jonah runs out and jumps onto a spare horse that Man of Two Bloods has provided and as he rides off, he is spied by none other than Quentn Turnbull. Turnbull gets into his buggy and decides that he shall have to handle this circumstance himself.

Meanwhile, back at the cabin where Hart is being held. hart manages to kick over the stove in the cabin. As the cabin starts to fill with smoke, one goon runs out to get water while the other two attempt to right the stove. During this time, Hart holds his wrists over some coals and manages to burn himself free. He launches into the two remaining goons like a rocket and grabbing a gun from one goon, he shoots the pistol from the hand of the returning goon.

Some time later, Jonah rides up to a stand of rocks. As he advances towards them, Turnbull shows up with a pistol, demanding that Hex stand back. Turnbull reaches into a hole in the rocks to retrieve the letter, but ends up getting bitten by a rattler.

Jonah says that is to be expected when you stick your hand in a snake's nest. He breaks off a forked stick, uses it to hold down the snake's head and gets the letter. Turnbull, his heart racing the venom through his system, begs Jonah not to let him die. Jonah replies that is exactly what he is going to do. As Jonah walks off, Turnbull falls to the ground, clawing at his pistol, his shaking hands taking aim at Jonah's back.....

Statistics for this issue
Men killed by Jonah - none
Running total - 408
Jonah's Injuries - none
Timeline - This appears to be the same day as last issue. A few of the panels seem to indicate that it is nighttime, but there is nothing in the text to support it.

This issue is rocking with action and drama and has more supporting characters than any issue yet. I have to give this issue a thumbs up. It keeps the current arc clipping along nicely and has a great cliffhanger.

The only sour note was an artistic one regarding Hart's ropes. In one panel the ropes are near his elbows and two panels later, his wrists are tied.

Next Issue: Turnbull's final fate, and the return of.......


SallyP said...

Oh Turnbull, you just won't quit will you? Personally, I think that he's using the death of his son simply as an excuse to run around and commit mayhem, because he certainly does seem to enjoy doing it.

Abe Lucas said...

The electric chair "salesman" must be a nod to the rather obscure 1971movie, The Traveling Executioner, which starred Stacey Keach in the title role.