Jonah Hex has a specific feel that most other books don’t. While most titles might give you a recap from the last issue or try and spell the entire story out for you, Hex throws you into the thick of it, and without warning. It’s sorta like stumbling across your favorite movie on TV, right as the good part is starting — and it’s been that way for over five years.
Issue 67 follows a pretty classic plot: mistaken identity. Our man Jonah’s been falsely charged with cold blooded murder of women and children, and he doesn’t even know it. Turns out another poor soul whose been indirectly affected by Jonah’s bounty hunting has decided to set him up for a quick exit to the afterlife. And the only resolution can come from bullets.
So why is this issue so good for following a simple story type? Because of the way it’s told. Obviously it’s an archetype we’ve seen over and over, but writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey throw us curveballs that keep everything crisp and mint. The story begins with the narrative of a nameless cowpoke in the middle of an Indian gun battle and ends in a pox-ridden ghost town. Didn’t see that coming, did ya? This is the exact reason why this title has been going for so long and is so successful. Since each issue is pretty much a separate entity from the last, Palmiotti and Grey can tell whatever tale they like and not have to worry about the placement of the stories in Hex’s chronology. So rather than stressing over continuity, the writers’ main focus can simply be about crafting amazingly tight story-and they succeed every time.
Of course, a comic isn’t complete without pictures, and we’ve got some good ones this month. Artist Jordi Bernet draws Jonah into a corner (literally) and proves his talent once more. At first, I wasn’t super into his art, but I’ve really grown to enjoy it. Bernet has a more blunt and simple style. In many cases, detail is present, but not overly abundant. However, he is also known for throwing in panels and full pages that are riddled with excitement: slumped over bodies, stacked boulders, large rioting crowds and brilliantly posed characters. I don’t have a qualm with this art style, but I feel that it could be changed up every now and then. Since each issue of Jonah Hex is told from a different section of his life, it would make sense to try out different artists every now and then. Although to contradict myself, seeing Bernet’s art comforts me as soon as I crack open an issue because I know what to expect. Rob Schwagger, the colorist for the book, helps to balance out the straightforward art style. Schwagger’s ever complicated color palettte adheres 3D feelings to simple wooden walls or disease-riddled bodies. These two artists seem to be a perfect fit and I hope they continue working together in the future.
So as quickly as it’s read, another issue of Jonah Hex concludes. It’s so assuring to be totally satisfied by a single comic, month in and month out. I challenge you to find a more perfect book. If I really had to nitpick and find problems with it, they would have to be that it isn’t longer, and it’s not daily. Oh, the terrible, terrible things I would do with bullets for a new issue of Jonah Hex every 24 hours…