Current Reviews


Jonah Hex #32

Posted: Monday, June 9, 2008
By: Jon Judy

Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Jordi Bernet
DC Comics
ďThe MatadorĒ

I like ice cream.

No, I mean I really like ice cream. So much so that I often have to ask my wife not to buy it, because if itís in the house, I will eat it. And eat it. And eat it.

I like ice cream, so I donít mind having it over and over. However, earlier this week my wife bought a carton of Neapolitan, and although I had a bowl every night since, the law of diminishing returns kicked in. I kept eating it, but it was less and less satisfying. Whatís that got to do with Jonah Hex? Well, keep reading. And click on an ad or two while youíre here.

Letís dispense with the givens before moving on to a more detailed look at ďThe MatadorĒ: This issue of Jonah Hex is a good read, just what youíd expect from professionals as competent as Gray, Palmiotti, and Bernet. It looks great, the story is told well visually, the dialogue is sharp, and Jonah comes across as the baddest of badasses. So, yeah, a good comic, and one that fans of Hex in particular will want to pick up.

So why three-and-a-half bullets rather than four or more? Flaw number one: As Iíve said about Hex in that past, the series can occasionally fall into a predictable rut Ė in some instances, if you read one issue youíve read them all. This is one of those issues. Let me set up the premise for you: Hex journeys to a Mexican town at the invitation of a wealthy man who wants to use Hexís service. It seems that a revered matador seduced this manís wife, and he would like Hex to put the man down like a charging bull. This cuckold would hire someone local to do the deed, but they all worship the matador too much to kill him. Hex declines, which pisses off his would-be employer who then seeks revenge by placing Hex in a devious death trap.

I wonít tell you the ending, but if you canít see it coming from a mile away, youíve never read an issue of Jonah Hex before.

So this issue is a bit on the by-the-numbers side. Thatís flaw number one.

Flaw number two is a logical lapse: The cuckold wants to hire Hex because ďNot a man in this city would kill the matador. They love him.Ē He then uses about a dozen women to help him take down a drunk Hex. OK, so the men in town wonít help him, but the women will? Fine Ė so why not turn these female assassins on the matador? Why does the matador live long enough to see the story through to its end, when these women could have taken him out easily while Hex was recuperating from their attempted murder?

On its own, this is a damn good comic book. So what if itís predictable? That certainly doesnít make it unique in the world of mainstream comic books. Do you really think Captain America wonít be coming back at some point? That one of these days that damned Green Goblin will finally defeat Spider-Man? That Batman will actually R.I.P.?

So, no, I donít mind that this comic was predictable. I mind that it was as predictable as it was, that I got all the usual Hex themes without any variations thereof. Also, the interior logic of the book is lacking.

Having said that, itís still, as I said, a fine read, so if youíve never tried it before, pick it up; it might not be as predictable to you. And if you have tried it before and liked it, good news: Youíll get more of the same here. And like ice cream, more of the same is not bad.

Itís just not as good as it could be.

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