Friday, June 14, 2013

Jonah Hex #17 V2 "The Ballad of Tallulah Black: Part 2"

Jonah Hex #17 V2 May '07

"The Ballad of Tallulah Black: Part 2"
Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, story - Phil Noto, art and cover

Twice as Mean and Twice as Ugly - We open with a little target practice. A man stands with his arms outstretched, a bottle in each hand, a wanted poster (of him) pinned to his chest. Hex is using the man to train Tallulah how to shoot. Finally Hex instructs the man to place a bottle on his head and then straps a gun belt on him. Hex instructs the man that he can shoot Tallulah, but she HAS to shoot the bottle before she shoots him.

The man draws and the bottle topples from his head, Tallulah takes a bullet in the leg and shoots the bottle and the man with one shot. Hex has her strip off he pants and he sears the wound with a heated knife (since the bullet passed through).

Later the night, the dead man lying nearby, Tallulah and Jonah are sitting by the campfire and she starts questioning Jonah, Is he ever gonna hang up his guns, why not just become a sheriff, is there a woman and a farm in his life? Jonah puts an end to the questioning and goes to sleep. Tallulah sits there staring at Hex and slowly reaches out to him. Jonah tells her to go to sleep and she responds with venom at being rejected.

That night Tallulah has nightmares of being raped and disfigured and Jonah eventually has to slap her awake and then they find themselves in an a lovers embrace.

Been a Long Time Comin' - Next day, Hex is dragging the dead man behind his horse and Tallulah is riding alongside. She wears a bandanna over her face and then dismounts and goes into the saloon while Jonah collects his bounty. She walks up to the bar and inquires of seven men, former Rebs now working for the government. The barkeep keeps asking questions and finally Tallulah pulls down the bandana and announces that she is in the company of one Jonah Hex and she aims to have her vengeance. Just then the men in question come strolling down the stairs, full of liquor and accompanied by 'ladies' . 

Tallulah finishes her drink, turns and opens fires, killing three men and wounding a woman. She turns and heads into the street, luring the remaining four out into the open. She quickly dispatches one as Hex and the sheriff come out onto the boardwalk. The sheriff starts to intervene but Hex wards him off.

Tallulah takes one in the shoulder and Jonah shoots a man (who had snuck up behind Tallulah) in the back. She kills one more and finally it is just she and the ringleader. He shoots her in the leg and then they are both out of bullets. He starts to plead for his life and she starts to reload. He spies a pistol dear one of his dead partners and he lunges forward, grabs it and shoots Tallulah in the gut. He starts to crawl away toward another gun but she shoots him twice and he falls backwards. She stands over him and then falls down herself.

Hex picks her up and takes her to the doctor.

On the Spirit Trail - The doctor does what he can and then Hex pays him to go to the saloon and leave them be. Jonah goes inside and starts talking to Tallulah...

Statistics for This Issue
Men Killed By Jonah - 1
Running Total 605 (432 past, 55 future, 15 Vertigo, 113 V2)
Jonah's Injuries - None
Timeline - This issue starts 3 months from last issue (this comes out during the campfire discussion) and covers a few days.
Rape Percentage - 41% (7 out of 17) 

This was one great issue and one of the high points was the relationship between Hex and Tallulah. The tension between Hex treating her like a human and like a pain in the ass teetered back and forth throughout the issue. The ending with the young girl being in the dream made one wonder if the girl was Death or just Tallulah's innocence. Of course, when we get to issue 70 even more questions are raised regarding the little girl.

Next Issue - Bear steaks, Mystery Meat and never get involved in a domestic dispute.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I just can't get excited about comics anymore

  I tried getting wow'ed about the NEW 52!!!! but I have to admit that it fell flat for me. That's probably my own fault because I didn't want to buy in to tons and tons of comics in order to follow a storyline. The books I bought?

Dial H - I loved the wacky idea behind this book. I actually enjoyed that I had to READ the book to understand what was going on but the art......ARRRGH the "art" on this book is such a pain to look at. But I keep on going with it right up until it gets canceled!

Men of War - What a mishmash of crap. The art was mediocre and the storyline was more about 'close encounters' with meta-humans in a war setting, something that might be interesting, but wasn't even remotely close to being readable. I bailed on issue 6 of 8.

Resurrection Man - Knew nothing of it and I took a chance. Stuck with it for 6 of 12 issues.

Birds of Prey - I liked the First Birds, wasn't that jazzed about the Second Birds (which lasted 15 issues before this reboot) and I have to admit, I'm just not emotionally vested in these characters anymore. I will probably drop this book.

Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps - Never wanted to get into Red Lanterns or the Multi-colored Lanterns (with Kyle). I enjoyed the books buy it started getting into "Ya think THAT was something? Watch THIS!" and at the end of Jones run we got the First Lantern, Parralax, Black Lantern Corps, Nekron and everything was wrapped up soooo quick and tidy. I found myself staring at the book and wondering why I wasted my money. I'm dropping both of these.

G.I. Combat - The War That Time Forgot and the Unknown Soldier features in this book were boooring. When they finally brought out the new spin on the Haunted Tank (and the War Wheel) I found myself actually Whooping with joy to read the book. But they canceled it with issue 7.

All-Star Western - I'm a Jonah Hex fan. Followed it through Hex, read the Vertigo, watched the movie, and I have been a fan of All-Star Western. I'm not so sure about bringing Hex into present day Gotham but I'm not in control of things around here. What worries me is that All-Star Western doesn't show up on any September solicitation lists. So they will bring Jonah to modern day Gotham for two issues and leave him here? Can't the guy catch a break? At least it will give Susan Hillwig another time travel story to write.

I'm not a guy that wants to buy 12 Superman books a month or 27 Batman books a month or 8 Justice League books a month to enjoy a story or understand what is happening. Heck, when I was a kid, I bought DC over Marvel because I COULDN'T get every issue of a series. DC was more contained and was easier to pick up and read. But sheesh, every year is the NEXT BIG THING THAT WAS BIGGER THAN THE LAST BIG THING and frankly, I don't have the emotional time nor the money to invest in it anymore.

I'll reread what I have and keep buying Jonah Hex books, but folks, I'm tapped out. I'll keep blogging about Hex and what else lies in my collection, but until something worth my money comes along, I'm sitting on the sidelines with the current books.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Real Origin of Batman, Inc.?

Here is a an old Hollywood Palace video that MIGHT be the inspiration behind Batman, Inc.
The answer starts at 11:54 (I can't figure out how to get the embedded video to start at that point)

Jonah Hex #16 V2 "The Ballad of Tallulah Black"

Jonah Hex #16 V2 Apr '07
"The Ballad of Tallulah Black"
Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, story - Phil Noto, art and cover

The Cruel Kindness of Children - A young girl is fishing and pulls in her catch. She calmly takes a rock and smashes in the fish's skull and then heads out. She comes upon Jonah Hex. Hex is leaning against a tree, watching a man that he has hung slowly strangle to death. The girls asks if Hex hung him and if he will cut him down. Jonah says that the man brought it on himself and that he promised Hex his boots. The girl states that it isn't very Christian of Hex and then she jumps up and grabs the man by the feet, hanging her full weight on him and thus snapping his neck. Hex replies with "They teach ya that in church?" and the girl heads on home.

The Ballad of Tallulah Black - Seven men stand in front of a log cabin, holding the entire family in their crosshairs. They state that homesteaders should have surrendered their land and they are here to take it. A woman comes out of the cabin and starts berating the gunmen as cowards and the ring-leader starts by shooting the family. The woman rushes at the men and they shoot her in the left eye, dropping her to the ground. The men burn the house and then ride off to tell the "Sergeant" that the land has been abandoned.

Time passes and the woman, Tallulah, opens her eye after being poked awake by the little girl that was fishing. The girl invites Tallulah home for supper, but Tallulah declines, saying she has bodies to bury. The girl leaves, warning that there is a bad man in the woods.

One year later - Several men walk into a bordello and they recognize Tallulah from their earlier encounter. She now has an eye patch and is doped up, sitting on a couch. Simon, the leader, indicates that he would like to have Tallulah for the night but the Madam suggests someone more lively. Simon insists and then takes Tallulah upstairs, throwing her on the bed. Tallulah can't tell if she understands her reality and when Simon assures her that he is real, she attacks him, scratching deep gouges in his face. He punches her and then drags her around the room by the hair before pulling a knife  and then everything goes black.

Tallulah wakes up to see the Madam and the doctor standing over her.

Time Doesn't Heal All Wounds - Three weeks later.  Tallulah stands in front of a mirror, her face a jigsaw of scars and the madam telling her of a man who is "a killer to the manner born" (I LOVE how Justin and Jimmy write dialogue!). She gives Tallulah some money and a pistol and the advice that this man, Jonah Hex might take pity on her since she is now as scarred as he.

Three more weeks later. Three men are hidings amongst some rocks hollering that they KNOW that Hex is out there. While they are weighing their options a stick of dynamite comes tumbling over the outcropping of rock and explodes below them, shearing off the ledge where they were perched. They fall backwards into the canyon, one getting his head crushed along the way. Hex walks up...

We next see Tallulah sitting under the remnants of a tree when three men atop two horses comes riding by. They are running from Hex and they stop and quickly rob Tallulah of her horse.

Out of the Frying Pan - Tallulah, now forced to walk across the desert, stumbles upon a ramshackle town and falls, literally, into the general store. The storekeeper bends down as if to take care of her....

Tallulah wakes up to finds herself tied, spread-eagle, on a bed and clothed in large dress. She hollers for release and the storekeeper walks in and says...

Just then a customer comes into the store and the storekeeper exits to tend to them. Meanwhile Tallulah attempts to gnaw away her bonds and then starts screaming for help. The storekeeper tells the patron that his wife is sick in the head, fighting her way against the evils of liquor. A pistol is placed against the storekeeper's head and the patron demands to see the "wife".

The storekeeper walks into the room, followed closely behind by Jonah Hex and his pistol. Hex cuts Tallulah loose, hands the knife to her and exits the room. A few minutes later, Tallulah emerges from the store, blood staining every inch of the dress. She determines that her savior is, in fact, Jonah Hex and offers him a few hundred dollars to kill the seven men that destroyed her family and her life.

Hex turns down her offer because the men aren't wanted and it ain't enough money for seven men. Tallulah states that she wants to learn how to kill them, not have Hex do it for her. Jonah ain't interested. She says that what they done to her is even worse under her clothes but...

To which Jonah responds "We're gonna have ta work on yore aim."

Statistics for This Issue
Men Killed By Jonah - 3
Running Total - 604 (432 past, 55 future, 15 Vertigo, 112 V2)
Jonah's Injuries - None
Timeline - This issue covers a year and six weeks
Rape Percentage - 43% (7 out of 16)

An incredibly cruel story with some odd undertones that won't become apparent until issues 50 and 70 regarding the identity of the little girl.

And what can we say about Tallulah? A beautiful strong woman who is brutalized in ways that would drive most people into madness and who eventually will almost steal the limelight away from Jonah Hex in his own book. She is probably one of the strongest supporting characters to have come into comics in the past 10 years and sadly, in the Jonah Hex movie, she was reduced to a groan inducing fanboy Easter Egg.

This is a great story, difficult to read at times because of the terror visited upon Tallulah, and it is definitely a turning point in the story of Hex.

Next Issue: If it is even possible, things turn uglier than they already are.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Ho Lee Crap!

Ya know, there's nothing like two weeks of severe storms to wake a guy up and make him realize that he hasn't blogged in several months.

The Moore tornado was about 30 miles south of us and we had the 'pleasure' of watching the entire thing unfold on live TV. Now, for folks not from around here, you might here people say that there was hardly any warning. The weather guys had been telling us for about three-four days that we would be have SEVERE (even for around here) storms on Sunday/Monday and they even pinned down the approximate hour of when the Monday tornado started (2 PM). Lots of folks knew when things would start boiling over. But sometimes ya just never know WHERE of how bad they are gonna be.

So, cleanup efforts are underway and a lot of folks are donating to the Red Cross. One thing you need to know about the Red Cross (I have no axe to grind, but I want folks to be aware) is that when they raise money via text messages or really anytime, that money goes into the general disaster fund. Even though they are raising money using photos of the Moore tornado, that money goes into the general fund and not all of that money is guaranteed to be spent in Moore.

I understand they do this in order to have cash on hand when something happens but some folks might not be aware of how this works. When Kevin Durant donated $1m, and the NBA donated $1m and the OKC Thunder donated $1m, and Cheasepeake Energy donated $1m, and Devon energy donated $2.5m it all went into the general fund. I did hear that after this fact came to light, the Red Cross said that they would start earmarking donations.

If you want your donations to stay here locally, you can donate to Serve Moore and it is run by 15+ local churches.  And if you're concerned about the folks hit by the storms the day before the Moore tornado, like Little Axe, Shawnee, Bethel Acres, you can get info about donating here.

So last week I headed up to Luther to see if they needed help. Spent the morning picking up a guys garage that had been slung about 100 yards off into the woods and the afternoon was spent walking about 40 acres of oat fields picking up debris that would damage the harvesters (15 ft 2x6, huge roll of steel roofing, car parts, etc.)

This being Oklahoma, storms rolled in again last night and again they were south of us but last night we weird beyond belief. We are used to tornados, but not ones with multiple funnels, all circling around each other. We're used to hail, but not the size of grapefruit (we only got pea sized). We're used to heavy rains, but not 10+ inches in a few hours. And we sure as heck aren't used to all three at the same time. Last night was one big freak-out. Heck, even the twisters didn't behave as normal, tracking due East and even South-East rather than North-East.

So, not unlike Joplin and our own monster twister from May 3rd, '99, we'll be rebuilding from these storms for years and we'll need plenty of help. You might hear people carping about "Why do folks live there?" or "They don't want to help us, why should we help them?". We live here because to us, this is the best place to live and we always have (and always will) head out to help other folks, fixing things after ice storms and floods or taking in displaced hurricane victims. Oklahomans are there because of one reason... We're all humans beings and we help each other.

More content is on the way, stay tuned.