Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

JONAH HEX #53 by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Billy Tucci

With the new Jonah Hex movie coming to theaters next month and the trailers already online and looking sweet, I decided to pick up an issue of the comic series. I’ve read several of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti’s graphic novels (which live up to the description with all the violence and gore smeared through the pages — but in a purely fun-loving, sadistic Western way that doesn’t take itself too seriously).

One of the best things about the Hex comics is that generally they’re a one-shot take. No continued issues. No cliffhangers. No waiting till next month. Just sit down, burn through the pages, look for the one-liners, and enjoy the violent art.

The authors evidently love the Western. I get that impression every time I pick up one of their Hex books and read it. Entertainment in a single sitting and as crisp as a showdown at high noon. The dialogue is terse, but engaging, enlightening, and humorous. It’s also candid at times and might be offputting to gentler readers. I also think the Southern accent is a tad overdone at times, but I struggle through it okay.

In this issue, Jonah is hunting a family of train robbers. The scene in the dancehall where he recruits the woman to act in his plan to foil the robbers is fun and I liked all the angles artist Billy Tucci unveils . (And is it just me, or does the woman look a little like Megan Fox, who stars in the movie with Josh Brolin?) The segue into the actual robbery, complete with the breathtaking mountain landscape and the train is awesome. Tucci bring a definite feel of the Old West to the panels.

The action is rough and ready as the robbers hold up the train and start roughhousing the passengers and blowing the safe. With the stripped down prose, deliberate advancing action, and Tucci’s dead-on artwork, this comic feels like a movie instead of escape reading. Everything is cinematic and the authors reveal their ear for dialogue and good sense to stay off the page when everything is working.

The confrontation in the car where the casket is becomes priceless quickly. It’s just so well done, and one of the best clues is the high-kicking leg of the “widow,” especially in the high-heeled boot she’s wearing. Once Jonah Hex puts in his appearance, things get really bloody. The action is pure and unflinching. People die rapidly and blood is spilled by the bucketful.

However, the authors have a couple of surprises in store for the bountyhunter and the readers. I can’t say I was happy with them because they seemed to come out of nowhere, but I have to admit that I liked the overall climax.

If you haven’t read Jonah Hex before and are interested in the movie, this would be a really good issue to pick up and give you a taste of what’s coming. Personally, I can’t wait till the movie.


2 Responses to “JONAH HEX #53 by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Billy Tucci”

  1. This has been my favorite issue since 50. Gray and Palmiotti brought together a great issue with a terrific artist. The cover’s one of my favorites from the series as well.

  2. This one was a blast. And thanks for writing. 🙂

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