Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jonah Hex #84 "Carnival of Doom!"

Jonah Hex #84 May 1984
"Carnival of Doom!"
Michael Fleisher, story - Tony DeZuniga, art - Ed Hannigan & Tony DeZuniga, cover

Jonah Hex is in the gunsmith shop of one R. Hayes, shopping for new firearms. Mr. Hayes is completely baffled that Jonah would throw away his matching dragoons. Jonah explains that they 'fell' into the lake and ends up deciding to purchase a Colt Peacemaker and a Smith & Wesson Schofield .45. The gunsmith admits that they were previously owned by a man who was gunned down when one of them hung in his holster.

Jonah concedes that he can understand why that happened, since the sights are so huge. He grabs a hammer and knocks the sights off both of the pistols (how he does it without damaging the pistols is a mystery to me). The store owner is writing up Jonah's purchase when two thugs burst into the store and grab the strongbox the owner has. The thugs start backing out the door and state that they can't leave no witnesses. Jonah draws on them, killing both.

The owner is aghast. He states that one thug has a bullet right between the eyes and the other has a hole over his right eye. Jonah agrees that the Smith & Wesson does pull to the left and takes the robber's money as payment for his saving the shop owner's life.

Out on the street Jonah is hailed by a telegram boy who delivers a telegram from New Orleans. Jonah makes mention that he has been invited to Mardi Gras.

Okay, let's stop here for just a second. Mardi Gras normally ends on Ash Wednesday which occurs 46 days prior to Easter. Looking at the dates for Easter in the 19th century, (new style, Catholic) for 1875-1878, they all land in April. Now, in the books we have established that we are in 1878 and by counting days that have passed we are at the end of April or possibly the beginning of May. Suddenly we are to believe that Jonah is going to make it to Mardi Gras? The book states that two weeks pass before he gets to New Orleans. So, if Easter of 1878 falls on April 21, 58 days prior (46 plus two weeks) puts us at Feb 22nd. And that is just so Jonah can make the last day of Mardi Gras! (on a side note, the 1879 Mardi Gras was canceled due to Yellow Fever.)

Meanwhile, JD Hart is talking with Mei Ling and he starts to tell her about his feelings for her. Suddenly Jason runs in with a wooden sixgun and 'shoots' Hart. Mei Ling scolds Jason, demanding where he got the toy pistol. Hart confesses that he made it for Jason along with a small holster. Mei Ling demands the gun from Jason and he shouts NO!

Hart tries to calm Mei Ling down, but she turns on him, saying she doesn't want her son to be a gunfighter and Jason runs from the room crying. In this scene, Jason not only shouts 'no' but also says "bang bang Marshal Hart! You're dead!" Jason has just turned two since he was born in the Spring of 1876 (?)

But enough about that, two weeks pass and we are now in New Orleans and Jonah is being addressed by a wealthy man in a large mansion. The man is Mr. Sterling and he wants to hire Jonah to protect his daughter Adrian from a kidnapping scheme. Jonah is stunned to meet Adrian, a beautiful young lady. Upon meeting Jonah Hex, Adrian states "I'm delighted to meet you, Mr. Hex. And may I say I feel safer already."

Jonah stammers back "Ah only wish Ah could say the same thing Ma'am"

Just then Clifford Mapely, Adrian's fiancee, enters. Sterling states that Hex will be their bodyguard for the next 5 or 6 days. Clifford doesn't think that it is needed but relents to Sterling's wishes.

A thousand miles away (putting us in New Mexico or far western Texas) Emmy Lou is screaming and pounding on the door of the room that Brett has locked her in. Brett opens the door and Emmy starts crying about how poorly she has been treated (tied up and locked up). Brett says that she can be freed if she promises not to escape and to also join his gang. She screams that she never will and Brett slams her back into the room, muttering that she'll come around very soon.

Back in New Orleans a cloaked woman knocks on a door and is allowed entrance to the home of Mr. St. Pierre. It is Elsa, the maid of the Sterling household! She reveals that Adrian will be at a private party at 10 PM in the Latin Quarter at 33 Rue Madeleine (don't bother looking, it ain't there!). Elsa explains that Adrian's fiance, Clifford will be escorting her and they will both be accompanied by Jonah Hex.

Later that night Jonah & Adrian are at the aforementioned party and a very snobby party goer is having a good laugh at Jonah's expense. He makes snide remarks about the war and how Jonah Hex belongs with the drunken revelers in the costume out in the street. Adrian tries to reprimand him but Jonah calmly grabs a drink, tosses it into the man's face, punches him in the gonads, lifts the man over his head and throws him the length of the buffet table. Several men decide they can take Jonah Hex on and Jonah pulls his pistols and drops a huge chandelier into the middle of the room.

Needless to say, Adrian, Clifford and Jonah shortly end up leaving the party. As Adrian & Clifford walk the streets of New Orleans (with Jonah closely behind), three men in skeleton outfits are stalking them from a nearby rooftop. Suddenly the three men jump down into the street and shoot Jonah Hex and start to grab Adrian. Clifford runs like a deer (getting help, he says!) and as one of the skeletons draws a bead on the unconscious noggin of Jonah Hex, Adrian shouts that he is her fiance. Rather than try to untangle the mess, the skeletons abduct Jonah along with Adrian.

Quite some time later, Jonah regains consciousness to find that he and Adrian are tied up in a wine cellar somewhere in the city. Adrian explains what has happened, including her tells the thugs that Jonah was her fiance. Jonah asks why she did that & she confesses that from the first time she saw Jonah, she knew that he WOULD be her fiance.

Upstairs, Mr. St. Pierre and his thugs suddenly hear a scream from the wine cellar. They run downstairs and open the cellar to find Adrian standing in front of them. She is untied and they demand to know how she got her ropes loose. She calmly replies "My friend over there has a bowie knife." Jonah then quickly tosses said knife into the throat of one of the thugs and then dives behind the wine casks.

As thug number two searches for him, Jonah sneaks up behind him and then knocks him out with a wine bottle. Just then St. Pierre emerges behind Jonah with a pistol aimed at Jonah's back. Adrian steps forth brandishing a pistol and demands in a stuttering voice that St. Pierre drop his weapon. St. Pierre says he won't because Adrian doesn't have what it takes to shoot hi... BLAM!!!!!!!

Adrian has killed St. Pierre and she drops the pistol and runs to Jonah where they get into a a post-pistol-packing lip lock.

Much later (5 AM by the clock on the mantle) Adrian and Jonah get back to the Sterling mansion. Adrian explains to her dad how great Jonah was and Hex explains that the maid was in cahoots with the kidnappers. Mr. Sterling says that he is happy that Adrian is safe, even though Clifford 'fought like a tiger' to save Adrian. She suddenly interrupts her dad and tells Clifford to leave & never comes back.

The p-whipped Clifford sulks out of the house and Mr. Sterling asks "what about the engagement?" Adrian grabs Jonah arm and as they leave the house she says that there may still be a wedding but Clifford won't even be invited to it.


Statistics for this Issue
Men killed by Jonah Hex - 3
Running Total - 416
Jonah's Injuries - Shot (hard to tell where. The shoulder? A grazing of the scalp?)
Timeline - Whew! It's Mardi Gras but it's May (or possibly even June by now with the extra two weeks to travel to New Orleans). The only thing I can say is that Easter takes place at an entirely differently time in the DC Universe.

A pretty good story advancing the emotional complications of Jonah Hex and his women. Adrian looks to be a pure firecracker, knowing what she wants and knowing how to get it. Jonah had better watch his step around this one.

The storyline with Emmy is getting a little hairier with the psychological abuse that Brett is throwing at her.

I find it strange that Jonah Hex is now in New Orleans and that is where the bulk of the Jonah Hex movie was filmed. Was Michael Fleisher psychic?

Next Issue: Turnbull decides to make good on his promise... to kill Jonah Hex!!!


Karl La Fong said...

I remember buying this one first time round and thinking that the cover was pretty scary looking...the Hex comics were getting really gritty and intense in those latter days...

SallyP said...

Those post-pistol packin' lip-locks are the BEST!