Jonah Hex has always been one of DC’s greatest characters, and this new series shows why. Hex is a bounty hunter who’s motivated by money, but when push comes to shove, he cares about people as much as he does about the money he can make. Hex is motivated by making bad things right, by helping others as much as by greed.
Jonah Hex #3 begins with Hex riding up on a small trading post that’s under siege by a group of marauders, out to steal money and help set a range war with the Apache tribe. Immediately understanding what’s going on, Hex ends the siege, but in doing so, just increases the pain and stress he’ll encounter later. In the midst of the story, the roguish Bat Lash saves Hex’s life, and both work to bring justice to the plains while also making a few dollars.
Part of what makes this comic so fun is that it’s a kind of throwback. There’s no post-modern spin to the character, as there was in writer Joe Lansdale’s more supernatural take on the character in two ’90s miniseries. Instead, Hex is true to the stories reprinted in his recent Showcase volume: a lone, scarred bounty hunter wandering the plains, enduring unimaginable hardships in order to make a few dollars and help a few people.
Luke Ross’s art is wonderful. It presents a kind of widescreen vision of the character and his setting, full of vistas of high desert cliffs and rushing rivers. There’s a three-page sequence of Hex being tossed down the river in a coffin that is spectacular in its use of shifting perspectives, intense action and gorgeous coloring. Jason Keith’s coloring adds a wonderful depth to every scene – the coloring works so closely in tandem with the art that the art sometimes looks painted.
It’s great to see a retro series get such a first-class treatment.