Somethings a-Stirrin in Jonah Hex
Story I Read: Chapter 3 “The Resurrectionist” (Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo #3 Oct. 1993)
Having gone through three issues of Two Gun Mojo, I am now wondering if I am doing the comic disservice by reviewing it in it’s original publication order. Perhaps, I should have reviewed the main story arc as a whole; meaning all five issues. Doing this probably would have stopped my complaints that each issue is a slow burn which has no pay off. Then I remember, when these stories debuted in 1993, readers would be seeing each individual chapter monthly.
How would this affect their reading of the story?
I project, that it would have caused them to be hyper focused on detail. Maybe, this is what John R. Lansdale wants. Maybe he wants us readers to deeply analyze each panel in an effort to see how the story flows.
Taking that idea and using it as my guide let’s plunge into Chapter 3.
Chapter 3, like the two preceding chapters, directly picks up were the last one left off. Jonah is riding with the wounded squaw on his horse. The deranged Granny led posse is still relentlessly pursuing him. After some fantastic acrobatics Hex out smarts them and shoots the majority of them dead. He then finds the fly covered body of the Squaw lying in the middle of a field.
There is so much death in the beginning of this story.
Jonah brutally guns down one posse member by shooting him in both eyes.
What an image.
Death is an extremely important mechanism in Two Gun Mojo and this is made abundantly clear in this chapter. /There is something extravagant in the death of the ‘villainous’ posse at the beginning, yet the companions that helped Jonah, are either left to be covered in flies in a field ala the Squaw, or dumped in a garbage heap like Slow Go Smith. Something is being said about the motives behind heroism vs. survival. The Squaw and Slow Go Smith made a dangerous decision aiding the known dangerous Jonah Hex, where as the countless villains that come up against him die in an extravagant and almost operatic fashion. They die either way, but in Jonah’s world you either die in a perceived smart way like the villainous posse, or a perceived ‘stupid way like Jonah’s two “friends.”
How extremely bleak this idea is.
I must admit I am still unable to get a grasp on the nature of Jonah Hex. I can’t figure out if he is a hero, even an anti-hero, or if he too is a villain.
Is Jonah Hex’s world populated by only villains?
Am I misguided to even attempt to quantify who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist?
Jonah Hex does catch up with the perceived antagonist in this one. He stumbles across the rag tag snake oil band in another town. Doc Cross’ band looks like a Halloween shop staff on Devil’s Night. They are somewhere in between a freak show and mental hospital. This band is shilling out an elixir that is said to give everlasting life. Jonah is uninterested in the elixir but more interested in revenge so he attempts to take Doc Cross unawares. Little does he know that Doc Cross knew he was coming and Jonah is walking into an ambush. The band captures Hex and locks him into a pickle barrel. Apparently this barrel can reanimate the dead as it was already used on the red eyed evil zombie Wild Bill Hickock. The whole scene is fantastic.
As I said in a previous review, Jonah Hex is best in the supernatural. Doc Cross, who seems to be a goblin of some sort or at least is drawn in that way, brings a real threat to the story that the two dimension human uglies could not.
Death to Doc Cross’ band needs to be survived as well, which continues the theme that death is something that is both hugely present and to be overcome in this world. I am still unsure what exactly is being said about it, but after this issue I at least know it to be important. Certainly, this is something that will carry over and be clarified in the next issue.
There is something going on under the surface here.
I still can’t say I enjoy the vagueness and the ploddiness of these issues but something is surely getting ready to happen.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5
Pros: The Opening Posse Sequence, Doc Cross’ Band, Jonah’s funeral orders for Slow Go.
Cons: The sudden death of the Squaw, The tacky adventure in a new town, the unclear paneling.
Previous Review: Chapter 2 “Invitation to a Hanging” (Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo Oct. 1993)
Upcoming Review: Chapter 4 “Vendetta Times Two” (Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo Nov. 1993)
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