Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hex #13 "The Dogs of War"

Hex #13 Sept 1986
"The Dogs of War"
Michael Fleisher, story - Mark Texeira and Carlos Garzon, art - Denys Cowan and Rick Magyar

Batman's Bat-plane has just taken a header into the river and the Terminators are destroyed, leaving Jonah Hex on the riverbank about to jump in to rescue Batman. Hex dives in to the murky river and locates the Bat-plane but finds no evidence of Batman's body. He is suddenly attacked by two scuba-diving thugs, knocked unconscious and dragged away underwater.

Three thousand miles away (presumably outside Seattle) the Road Reapers are bearing down on a water convoy and as they start their attack the Reapers (and we as well) are treated to the sight of these fellas!!!!

Yeah, it's a giant spacecraft that unloads a flying giant Manta Ray, a Ninja, a Viking, and a Roman Centurion and the spaceship is piloted by Stanley Harris. All of these guys have bullet-proof armor and make short work of the Reapers, especially when the Centurion throws force blasts from his hands, the Manta Ray shoots paralyzing lasers from his eyes, and the Ninja turns into a gigantic Oni (demon). The spaceship lands and the captured Road Reapers are loaded onto the ship and taken away.

Jonah regains consciousness to find himself in a wooden cage hanging from the ceiling. Two very barbaric looking goons are heating up a large kettle and are talking about cooking Jonah Hex up to make some Hexcellent stew. (hee hee, my joke, not theirs. Hey! I think it's the first time in 4 years I've made that pun). Jonah, not one to be gnawed on, grabs his knife, cuts the rope holding the cage and the entire thing falls on the goons, breaking open and knocking them into the fire.

Jonah makes tracks through what appears to be a sewer system and finally ends up on the bank of the river, free for now.

Back to the giant spaceship with the captured Road Reapers, we find that the ship has arrived at a huge area that appears to be some sort of prison work camp. The Reapers recognize some of the other workers as being from rival gangs and it slowly dawns on them that they are now slaves!

Jonah finally makes it back into town and recovers his motorcycle and ends up back at the Kit Kat Klub to find Stiletta. He grabs both pistols and kicks the door in only to find out that it is now and respectable restaurant. Jonah is fairly confused until he recognizes one of the workers as the referee from the fight. Jonah drags him over to a console with a ton of buttons and Jonah mashes the correct button that turns the restaurant back into the Kit Kat Klub, sliding back a wall to reveal the huge arena. Jonah demands to know where Stiletta is and the referee tells him that Stiletta is probably with Austin and Ingalls, owners of the Klub, and part of the Combine, the group that killed Batman.

That allows us to quickly transition to a meeting of the Combine that is just breaking up. Two men, we can assume Austin and Ingalls, are leaving the building and approach their limo. When they get in they find their limo driver naked and tied up in the back seat and Jonah Hex in the driver's seat. Jonah pulls out a pistol, demanding to know where Stiletta is. One of the men pushes a button that opens up a compartment holding a pistol. The man grabs it and Jonah plugs him square between the eyes. Jonah tromps the gas and takes off in the limo and a bodyguard orders several thugs on cycles to give chase.

Back at the slave camp we see a strange shadowy figure floating within a large building full of video screens. The figure speaks of how slowly the process is going but at least things are moving along, thanks to his Dogs of War. When the light shines on the figure, it appears to be an alien!

Statistics for this Issue
Men Killed by Jonah: Looks to be three. One shot and two burned alive.
Running Total: 477 (428 past, 49 future)
Jonah's Injuries: Beat up and knocked out.
Timeline: Immediately after last issue so not even a day passes during this issue.

Wow. I think right about here is where I started losing interest in this book. Yup, this is the book that jumped the shark for me. I can take Jonah in the future with some of the sci-fi stuff, but the space ships, aliens, and everything else thrown in here, was just too much. Of course, we only have about five more issues left.

The search for Stiletta and the Combine/Conglomerate is a storyline that interests me and I wish we could have stuck along those lines. Texeira's work is still good, but the inking and coloring kind of muddy everything up. Also, Hex was never printed on white Mondo paper so it really suffers from the coloring process.

It's gonna be hard to get through these next issues. I'll just be honest with ya. But I think it will be kind of like a band-aid, I should just rip it off and get the pain over with.

Next Issue: Jonah Hex vs. Stiletta in a fight to the death!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tubby Tuesday #2

Cosplay Tubby....
has trust issues regarding relationships.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Many Phases of Jonah Hex - The Ongoing Hex.

Who or what is the Ongoing Hex? Why, it's Jonah Hex with continuity, of course. The early days of Hex, back in the Weird Western Tales, was a character that showed up, shot and got shot, and left town. When Michael Fleisher took the writing chores in WWT #22, the first thing he did was give us Quentin Turnbull, a past for Jonah Hex, and continuity. WWT 22-24 are more of less a three issue story arc, but after that we have to wait until WWT 29-30 for another two parter.

For the rest of Jonah's run in WWT and on into his own book, we would get a "done in one" followed by a two or three parter. Once in awhile a character would return (Bigfoot, Joanna Mosby, The Chameleon) but the stories and the arc's could be read in almost any order. I could read the Bigfoot stories before or after Jonah being framed for murder. About the only ongoing continuity was Quentin Turnbull and that at times was haphazard.

Everything changed with issue #42. There we were introduced to JD Hart and were reintroduced to Mei Ling. From that point on, each issue followed the next, each issue had a reference to the prior one, and each issue built on the ongoing life of Jonah Hex (except for a few obvious tales that appeared to have been put in for deadline reasons. #73 and a few others come to mind.) What did this do to our scar-faced bounty-hunter?

It made him more human. Jonah Hex went from being a monster with no past to a man with a tortured past to finally a man with his life being ongoing torture. Rather than seeing him ride into town, shrug off everything that was thrown at him and ride off, we got to see a man with a heart, a conflicted heart to be sure, but a heart nonetheless. He became a man that could grow weary of being hounded by Turnbull, tortured by Papagayo, and put upon by women. He would risk his life for his wife and son, battle the memories of his family, and face his own demons of alcoholism.

Every few issues it would seem like things would be wrapped up, but we didn't need a cliffhanger. We knew that there were a lot of things bubbling beneath the surface of Jonah Hex and his supporting cast and something was going to boil over and we wanted to be there. Then Michael Fleisher started doing something odd. He started wrapping up a story arc on the middle of the issue (#71) and started up another in the same issue!

At first that was pretty jarring. We had become conditioned to understand when the end of a story would be coming and all of a sudden we were finished at page 10. Kinda of like your Grandpa telling you a bedtime story and it ends after 15 minutes. You feel tricked but then you realize that you have time for him to start another one before the lights go out. This was a great way to keep the saga of Jonah Hex rolling.

Sadly, even though Michael Fleisher could keep the action going, he never took the time to figure out how long each issue actually lasted. Everything from issue 42-92 was pretty much crammed into 1875 (if you take the dates they give you). However, through meticulous tracking we now know that issue #42 was in 1874 and  #92 ended in August of 1878.

Fifty issues to chronicle four years of a man's life and it was probably the best fifty issues of Jonah Hex there was to date.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

We Interrupt This Blog.... #21

... to inform you to do your ankle exercises.

Otherwise it could be Ankles Away (as they say in the Navy)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hex #12 "Siege of the Terminators"

Hex #12
"Siege of the Terminators"
Michael Fleisher, story - Mark Texeira and Carlos Garzon, art and cover

Plummeting to their deaths from last issue, Batman and Jonah Hex are sure to be street pizza since the flight capability of Batman's suit was destroyed by Jonah's knife throw. However, Batman isn't a one trick pony and unleashes his Bat-rope, snagging a flagpole as they fall past. Jonah manages to shinny up the rope to the flagpole and then over to the building. Batman follows suit and just before he reaches the flagpole, the pole starts to snap.

Jonah quickly undoes the chains on his boots and throws one end to Batman and then pulls Batman to safety. Batman states that they need to talk a few things over.

Meanwhile, we are privy to a discussion amongst the folks that own the giant robots and flew Jonah in from Seattle to New York in order to take care of Batman. They are discussing their chances of successfully getting the robots armed and if they can't bribe Batman, maybe Jonah Hex will kill him.

We cut back to Batman's giant flying Bat-plane where Batman has taken the descriptions given by Jonah, fed them into his computer and realizes that these guys work for the Combine. Hex asks about Stiletta but Batman says he has no idea. He explains that these two guys that have conned Jonah run the Kit Kat Klub on the old West side.

Batman gives Jonah directions to club and drops him off near his motorcycle. He also gives Jonah a warning, saying that Batman doesn't like guns or the people that use him, so Jonah had better find Stiletta and get out of town. Jonah says Batman better not push his luck with Jonah, where he comes from they string up hombres with masks. Batman replies "You mean Seattle?" and flies off. Watching the Bat-plane leave Hex replies "Uh-uh. Ah mean 1875."

So, we go see what is transpiring in the Kit Kat Klub and we fight a fight ring surrounded by a huge crowd. In the ring is the Blonde Spitfire going up against Bertha (weighing in at 267 pounds). Bertha punches the ringmaster and throws knives at the Spitfire (Stiletta). Stiletta dodges the knives and then pulls a whip, smacking Bertha in the face. Bertha charges her and the tussle continues on.

Elsewhere, there is a blind man working his way down an alley when he is set upon by a gang of thugs, however, Batman suddenly swoops in, beats the living tar out of the thugs and the starts questioning the blind man, who is one of Batman's informants. The blind man, Mole, explains that the Combine has flown in Jonah Hex to kill Batman and they're also trying to sucker the city council to accepting the Terminator robots as well as getting Batman to relax the firearms restrictions so they can arm the Terminators with lasers.

Back at the Kit Kat Klub, the fight continues until Stiletta finally knocks down Bertha, grabs a huge knife and buries it in the middle of Bertha's back, killing her. Just then Jonah busts into the club and attempts to get Stiletta out of the ring, but he is beaten senseless by the club bouncers and tossed into a dumpster.

In the Combine's HQ, they receive a giftbox but when they open it, several bats fly out and they find a note from Batman warning them about activating the Terminators.

That evening, Batman is heading back to his hideout but there is a large explosion at a local fuel depot and he flies in to put out the flames.

During this time, several hearses enter a warehouse owned by the Combine and start unloading the huge lasers that the Combine wants to put into the Terminators. Turns out that the Combine started the depot fire to keep Batman busy and when they get the lasers in place, they unleash three Terminators into downtown Manhattan.

Batman gets the fire out and then notices the problems in Manhattan. The cops are trying to fight the giant robots but to no avail and Batman has a slight problem, he has no firepower on the Bat-plane so he can do little more than swoop around and be an irritant.

Jonah Hex eventually comes to in the dumpster and sees the robots nearby, fighting Batman. Jonah contemplates taking off to find Stiletta again, but decides to go help Batman. However, after getting on his motorcycle and arriving on the scene, Jonah learns just how huge the robots are and on top of that, they are bulletproof.

So what is a cowboy to do? Take off between some skyscrapers, drag dynamite off his cycle, rig it up to two buildings and then lure a robot to follow him and hit the tripwire, which drops both buildings onto the robot. Another robot has waded into the river and is shooting at Batman with those dreaded lasers. As the robot walks under a bridge, Batman uses his electromagnet to pull four bolts out of the bridge and drop the entire thing on the robot (personally, I would hate to drive on a bridge being held together by four bolts that had no nuts on them!)

The last robot is destroying a housing complex and Batman swerves the Bat-plane into an antenna on a power plant, slicing it off and into the robot, electrocuting the robot and causing it to explode. The Bat-plane has lost a wing and crashes into the river......

Statistics for this issue
Men Killed by Jonah: 0
Running Total: 474 (428 past, 46 future)
Jonah's Injuries: Beaten unconscious
Timeline: Seems like the sun came up around here somewhere, everything is fairly murky on this one so let's add one more day. Day 17 of the future.

Wow, this one almost hurts to reread. I seem to remember enjoying it back in '86, but now it just falls there and lies on the ground twitching. Jonah Hex against giant robots? Nope, it doesn't work. Toss in a few pop culture references ("Ain't that nightmare 2047", "The Batman's over 21") and this book becomes less about Jonah and more about the supporting characters and their time. It just doesn't work at all. Sadly, I feel that this book was the start of the downfall of Hex because, believe me, things get even weirder the farther along we go.

Next Issue: We learn the fate of Stanley Harris and get to meet the DOGS OF WAR!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tubby Tuesday #1


gets to answer the eternal questions
from Little Lulu: Letters to Santa 2005

Friday, August 06, 2010

House Ads #31

Superman is the best thing about comics in 1950. He's in 3 GREAT MAGAZINES!!! All thanks to 4 doctors on the DC editorial advisory board.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Pitchman-A-Go-Go #86

I got to digging around in some old boxes of comics and dug out a Dale Evans from 1950. Where or how I got this comic is a mystery to me (I usually remember where I pick stuff up) and this one, #12, is a treasure trove of house ads, product ads, and public service announcements, so we'll be mining this little ditty for all it's worth.

Yup, 10 cents got you a ring and a jar cap for mom. It's a win-win for the whole family!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

DC Showcase - Jonah Hex

As most of you know, there is a animated short of Jonah Hex in front of the new Under the Red Hood DVD. Of course it's now on Youtube, so enjoy it & let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Now about that Jonah Hex Director's Cut DVD

Reader Andrew sent this tidbit my way:

These days it’s fairly common for movies to feature unrated editions on DVD. Jonah Hex would certainly qualify for one, as its director Jimmy Hayward edited the film to achieve a ‘PG-13’ rating. The comic book Western stars Josh Brolin as a burned avenging hero, and Hayward thinks he’ll restore his cuts for the home video release.
“We had an ‘R’-rated movie that we had to trim down,” Hayward says. “It’s a very fine line between what makes it there. We made the decision to go ‘PG-13’ quite a long time ago, well before we started shooting, and we all agreed that was the way to go. So we just had to nip and tuck some stuff.”
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has specific requests for what they’ll classify as ‘PG-13’ violence.
“You know the MPAA is, ‘Can you have him punch him three times instead of five times?’ Stuff like that,” Hayward says. “There certainly is a version of the movie that has a lot more violence in it, but we never had a lot of blood or anything like that. Just more people died, and there was more punching and beatings.”
Even his star, Brolin, agrees with the cuts made for the theatrical release. He’ll be happy to see Warner Home Video’s DVD and Blu-ray version though.
“I think it belongs on a DVD,” Brolin says. “This movie, when you watch it — at least when I do — you expect it to be gratuitous, and it’s not. I think that’s much more interesting than if it were like the Grindhouse kind of thing where it’s just out there.”
The film runs a lean 82 minutes, including titles and credits, so there is certainly room to expand the story in a longer cut. However, Hayward intends to make only slight adjustments for an alternate version.
“Not super long, not really,” Hayward says. “All those scenes expand and have more violence and stuff like that. There’s definitely deleted scenes that we’re going to put out for sure.”

Somehow I'm not buying this "rah rah rah" about the DVD version. In the interviews the question came up about if they were shooting an R or a PG-13 and the responses were "we're just shooting a great film and we'll let the rating fall where it falls" type things. Now Hayward is saying they were aiming for a PG-13.

I call BS on that. Also Brolin's quote "it belongs on a DVD." is mysterious. Does he means it was straight to DVD quality? It should be on DVD like every other film ever made? I'm convinced now that actors and folks associated with film have this jargon that they toss out no matter what the question is, probably because they get the same questions over and over and over.

I'm sure I'll buy the DVD because I DID like the film but it doesn't sound like we'll ever get to see all the footage that was shot. Ah, well. At least I still have a monthly title to read.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

It's quiet around here...

..too quiet.

Yup, I'm gonna blog about blogging. Yeah, I know it's a sin. Anyway, things have fallen by the wayside here at Matching Dragoons and I'm gonna be back up in the saddle again for August and we will be pushing on through Hex, as well as a good hard look at the Most Awesomest Comic Ever Created by Man (or did God actually create this one?), More World of Porky Pig, Pitchman-A-Go-Go, House Ads, the whole shooting match are riding back into town with a vengeance.