Thursday, May 11, 2006

Jonah Hex, God's Wild West Ninja

If there is one pet peeve of mine about fiction that keeps cropping up in comics and film it is lazy writing. One aspect of this I particularly find disappointing is the Lucky Break. That is when something completely random and unforeseen helps out the protagonist against all odds or fortuitously finishes off the villain. It happens ad nauseum in film alone.

You know...When the hero is in a ferocious gun battle and some henchman gets the drop on him but his gun jams allowing the good guy to escape? When the previously damaged cable holding the girder in place finally snaps and crushes the bad guy? That kind of thing.

Jonah Hex #7 (v2, July 2006) has one such moment. The scarred dude is up against a gang of killers who already have their guns drawn on him, and Jonah just waits for something to happen.

And it does.Yep. Lightning strikes a nearby oil well and big explosion follows. Furthermore, the rain stops just at that moment to make sure the conflagration continues on to destroy the entire town in proper dramatic fashion. It would not do to have the rain put out the fire (I'm not even going to get into how all that soaking wet wood managed to burn). Jonah takes advantage of that wholly unexpected moment like it was all part of the plan and shoots everyone not necessary to the gory climax of the story. If the creative team was trying to say that Jonah Hex is the Scary Wrath of God Personified then they succeeded in the clumsiest, pop television hack-scripted manner possible*. A note to the authors: Leave that type of story to someone else who is way, way better at it.

So guess what? Jonah runs out of bullets at the worst possible time! Who didn't see that coming? Not me. No, I totally did. But I confess I did not see what was coming next. Mainly because it was so stupid and out of nowhere it never occurred to me that it would be used. Yet I should have known better given this team's penchant for recycling scripts from old DC western titles and cinema.

For no reason at all, Jonah whips out a sheriff's badge he just happened to have in his coat and throws it shuriken-style, blinding and delaying the villain just long enough for Jonah to gruesomely finish him off.

We already know that Jonah Hex has the superior Kung Fu, so this entire scene was a waste of paper.

Besides, Cinnamon did it first way back in Weird Western Tales. It was her schtick.

My rating of Jonah Hex #7:

1 out of 5 Ditko Faces

* Put a laser in Jonah's hand and this could be a comic adaptation of an epsiode of Whedon's Firefly or Serenity. Yes, it's that bad, folks.


  1. With this kind of writing, I wonder how long this Jonah Hex run is going to last. Yeah, laziness. What a waste.

    Full disclosure: Part of my problem with J Hex 2.0 is that I've been writing about J Hex 1.0 in the reviews at Seq Tart for over a year now.

  2. Badges? We don't need no steenkin' badges.


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