Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Many Phases of Jonah Hex - The Displaced Hex

The sales on Jonah Hex was dropping and in an attempt to save the character, Michael Fleisher ventured into a realm that he himself has confessed that he was uncomfortable with, science fiction.

Jonah was thrown into the world on 2052, years after a worldwide nuclear holocaust, and even though he passed out from information overload in the first issue, Jonah did what he did best. He adapted.

Though the world was new, the carnage and destruction were still pretty much the same. Guns still had triggers, people would still bleed and things would still explode. Some (I, for one) will say that he adapted waaaay to fast, even managing to ride a futuristic motorcycle in the first issue. Jonah showed an incredibly quick knowledge of mechanics that included driving cars, melting robots, taking on an automated shooting gallery, and even using rocket exhaust to destroy a few aliens. But, this is a comic book, we only have about 20 pages to deliver the danger as well as the escape for the hero, and Hex was forced to be a quick learner.

Overall, the book was still pretty much a Western at heart. The evil railroad men became the evil corporations, gold became Soames, the roving Indians and bandits became roving biker gangs and... bandits, the stagecoach became a hovercraft, the pistol was still a pistol (something that tickled me whenever Hex would resort to an old fashioned bullet), and Batman became, sort of a Batman. It goes to show that the basis of a story is, and always will be, about a hero and a villain and what ultimately happened between the two.

As a series, I was hot and cold on the book. It was Jonah Hex and I would be buying it, pretty much no matter what. The beginning art by Texeria was smooth, clean and very cinematic. Very much like the work of Ross on Jonah Hex V2 or the Lopez work on the original run. The stories had a proper amount of melodrama that kept the same pacing as the end of the Jonah Hex run and Fleisher did a good job at introducing new concepts even though the Earth of the future didn't hold together very well when examined with any sort of close eye (New York is still standing while Seattle is a nuclear wasteland?).

I think the whole series started slipping around issue 11, with the future Batman and then we got the Dogs of War and finally the 'artwork' of Keith Giffen but it was able to redeem itself with the very last page of the very last book in one of the all-time moments in comics (and I'm including all of DC, Marvel, as well as everything that Don Rosa ever produced).

It would be a long time before we got another taste of the scar-faced bounty hunter that we could all sit back and savor. Hex, uneven as it was, was still Jonah Hex and for some folks a mediocre Hex series is better than no Hex series at all. 


All of the above was penned way back in 2011, since then we have seen Jonah once again thrown into the future in All-Star Western 21 via Booster Gold. Jonah encountered a slew of super-folks in addition to Booster. He tangled with a version of Nightwing, Swamp Thing, Constantine, Superman, Bruce Wayne (in non-Batman garb). He ended up in Arkham Asylum in the care of Jeremiah Arkham and eventually kidnaps Arkham, guns down several of the Gotham Mutants from The Dark Knight Returns and hooks up with a curvy young woman named Gina Green.

He stops a rampaging serial killer, digs up a ton of his old hidden gold, attends a Burning Man type festival, encounters soul sucking demons, gets attacked by the Black Mercy (most recently seen on CBS Supergirl episode).

Finally, in a poor turn of judgement, Gina take Jonah to a museum exhibition of Jonah Hex paraphernalia where they both encounter the stuffed remains of old Jonah himself. Jonah storms out of the museum, goes on a drunken binge and ends up wrapping his motorcycle around a semi. Modern medicine being what it is, the doctors think Jonah's facial scarring was a result of the wreck and they completely repair Jonah's face.

Once discharged from the hospital, Jonah encounters Booster Golds again who sends Jonah and Gina back into the old west, where things go from very bad to very worse. All in all, only 8 issues and Jonah's reaction to his corpse does not take into account the end of Hex, leading me to believe that we are dealing with a Jonah from an alternate history, somewhere along here.

There have been a few other incidences of Jonah making reference to his time travel, once in The Once and Future Thing in a Justice League Unlimited episode where several members of the JLA go back to the old west. Jonah comments that he thinks they are time travelers and when quizzed as to why he thinks that, Jonah responds "I've had an interesting life."

This episode is pretty much rehashed in Justice League Unlimited #19 where Jonah once again talks about time travel and mentions that "it's complicated".

So, probably due to the lack of story-telling time, Jonah has shown to be quite adaptable no matter where he is thrown and I am wondering if, in the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow episode, we will get a Jonah that has experienced time-travel or not.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

That which we all must fight...

  Yes, I know I've been silent for a long time on this blog.

  This is a situation that is not related to comic books but it is a situation regarding something I feel is much broader than what I would normally post on my personal Facebook page.

  I recently commented on a friend's Facebook post regarding anti-vaccination people and the outbreak of measles. My friend, X, was lamenting parents that don't vaccinate their kids and while I agree with him I also, quite honestly, thought I would poke at him a little bit, and pointed out that the current Administration in the White House was recently accused of 'importing' children from south of the border and shipping them all over the country. I pointed out that there are a lot of illegal immigrants in this country and some of them probably don't have vaccinations.

  Here is where things went, um, into an area that I want to bring to folks attention. A friend of X, let's call him Y, has never met me personally and I don't know him except through his comments on X's posts. Anyway, Y called me a racist.

  Yup, he went there. I will try to objectively recreate some of what transpired. Sadly, X deleted the thread because what it snowballed into was (in the words of X) hurtful to myself and another commenter that was making other silly comments against X.

  So, Y said that I was a racist because I brought Latinos into a discussion on a topic that had nothing to do with Latinos. I made mention that I never mentioned a particular race but I was discussing unvaccinated illegal immigrants.

  Well, Y said, since I had used the word 'Imported' everyone knew that I was talking about Latinos.

  Let that sink in for a moment. I had used a code word, a special code word that Y was aware of and this code word is used by racists, such as myself, so that we can talk our racist talk and when someone brave and insightful (again, such as Y) calls us out in our racism, then we can throw up our racist hands and state "I never said 'Latinos'!"

  But, again, Y said that I was racist because I brought race into a discussion that had nothing to do with race. I thought we were talking about unvaccinated people and I pointed out that illegal immigrants, be they from Norway or wherever, also posed a risk. Y informed me that I had no right bringing Latinos into the discussion and that racists will hide behind their racist code words and try to obfuscate a topic in order to secretly display their racism yet not appear racist. He also stated that anyone that "vilified people of color" was obviously a racist.

 X steps in and states that he knows me well, and while I may have an unfounded fear of government I am not a racist. Y told X that he should not try to give me the benefit of the doubt because racists don't deserve it and they need to be exposed for what they are.

  By now I understand that there is no winning with this guy but I thought I would at least TRY to use some logic. I asked if there were any way that I could have asked if other folks, people that aren't vaccinated but are not the middle and upper-middle class crazies that refuse to vaccinate their kids, might contribute to the spread of diseases like measles. Well, Y explained a few things, first of all, no scientists have pointed out that there is any possible connection between Latinos and the spread of measles and it is obvious that I am blinded by the rhetoric that I hear and he is not going to provide any research to me explaining why I am such an obvious racist.

  I will admit, that my head was spinning by this time. I remembered a quote about not rassling with a pig, you get dirty and the pig enjoys it too much. However, I also realized that this kind of circle logic where someone can accuse you of something and no matter what you do or say is nothing more than further proof of their accusation is a dangerous thing and that it needs to be resisted and exposed for what it is.

  It is a blatant attempt to silence people with which Y, and people of his ilk, disagree. By constantly refusing to answer simple questions and turning everything I said into more evidence of racism, including imaginary 'code-words', Y became the judge, jury, censor, and executioner of my speech and my opinions and even my every thought and intention.

  The thread was now to the point were X and others were pointing out how bull-headed and foolish Y had become, but he cut them down as well, for siding with a racist.

  Eventually I offered an olive branch to Y, but he responded as he had before. I did not see his response, X deleted the thread and informed me of the tone of Y's response.

 Personally, this is nothing more than a bunch of false allegations by a person that I don't know and doesn't know me. But I did want it brought to light because I feel that everyone has the unfortunate chance of being attacked by people such as this. People will call you a tree-hugger, Nazi, baby-killer, racist, bigot, dirty hippy, stupid liberal, greedy capitalist, 1%-er, child molester, rapist, femi-nazi, socialist, progressive, neo-con, war-monger, jihadist, jew-hater, or anything else they want to with no evidence that would hold up in a court (outside those based on public opinion or kangaroo tactics) but through their constant barrage they will silence others.

  We must all stand up to this behavior. I'm hesitant to use the word bully, I think coward is much more accurate. We must stand up to these cowards, that talk circles, belittle, accuse, and smear us with words that are meant to mark us, their opponents, forever. Every time we are silent, they win. They will mock us but I feel that the best way to respond is the same way that you would play a fish, give them all the line they need and eventually others, even some on their side, will recognize their ignorance and evil, and turn away from them.

  I've been fairly nice, and referred to this man as Y this whole time. I fear that by allowing him to stay behind this alias, I am aiding him, allowing him to hide. But by referring to him as Y I hope that others might recognize people they know that could be our Mr. Y. In fact, we might even recognize some of Mr. Y in ourselves, and that is where we must first fight this cowardice.