“Eye for an Eye”
Writers: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Luke Ross
Publisher: DC Comics
DC has struck gold with this title. One of the best things about Jonah Hex is that each issue is a self-contained story. You can rest assured that if you pick up this issue, you won't need to buy the next. Though I say you'll definitely want to do so. It's quite possibly their best non-super-hero, DCU title. And yes, Jonah Hex is firmly entrenched in the DCU, albeit about 130 years or so in the past. A DCU time period that is rich with characters such as Scalphunter, Cinnamon, Tomahawk, Nighthawk, and, this issue's guest star, Bat Lash.
Gray & Palmiotti probably have the best job in comics. They get to write a character that is allowed to administer justice as he sees fit, even if it's at the end of a rope, his pair of Colt .45s, or at the knife of an Apache. Hex is a character that has his own set of morals, but a set of morals that definitely follow the title of this issue's story. Hex is a man you want on your side of the fight, because if he isn't, expect to be on the receiving end of his brand of justice. Also, one of the glorious things about they way Gray & Palmiotti are telling their stories is that it reads very much like a serial. It's refreshing to be able to read such a book.
This particular issue has Hex stumbling upon the wreckage of what used to be a wagon train. The natural assumption for the reader is that Indians attacked it. Hex, on the other hand, knows better and soon comes upon the real culprits. From there the story really begins as he takes matters into his own hands, gunning down the true killers and saving two of the survivors of the wagon train. Upon arriving in the town of Kent with those two people, he comes across Kent's sheriff. A man who also happened to be the brother of one the highwaymen that Hex has killed. To say that the sheriff was displeased would be a bit of an understatement. He doesn't simply arrest Hex, he tries to kill him in a rather inventive way: Tying him up, placing him in a coffin, and having him tossed into a river that eventually leads to a waterfall.
Then there is Bartholomew Aloysius Lash. After surviving his ordeal over the waterfall and pulling himself out of the water, it is there that Hex meets Bat Lash. And it's with the help of Lash that Hex is able to exact his revenge and justice upon the men who tried to kill him. I won't spoil what Hex does to gain his revenge and justice, just take it from me, it's a classic. I especially enjoyed how Lash is used in this issue. You'd expect his character to be the atypical “dandy boy and card shark.” That is simply not the case. He's a man who can take care of himself, despite outward appearances. I certainly hope that this is not the last we see of Bartholomew Aloysius Lash.
As good as the story is, the art by Luke Ross is phenomenal. It has a gritty, rustic feel to it. Granted, this is a story set in the Old West, but Ross has outdone himself. Whatever of Ross's work you may have seen in the past, this surpasses it. There is a very definite “old feel” to the artwork. A lot of the feel is assisted by the colors of Jason Keith. These two gentlemen are creating beautiful work together. Work that I hope is noticed by one and all, especially when it comes time for awards to be given out.
As I said in the beginning, this is quite possibly one of the best titles DC is producing. Jonah Hex, coupled with Vertigo's Loveless, shows to all that the western comic is not dead. Both titles are not only great western comics, but also great books. Period.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!