Jordi Bernet’s art is oddly suited to a tale of Wild West justice, but it’s the unexpected that makes this work so wonderfully.
The wonder is what drives this story of Jonah Hex, a story titled, “Tall Tales.” The issue starts off with two boys swapping stories about Jonah Hex as they fish. The two debate the reality of the tales and have their curiosities piqued when their father confirms that Jonah Hex is, indeed, in town. He confirms this by noting that school has been cancelled until further notice, as though Hex were a force of nature or the very hand of God.
The boys, of course, sneak out to try and learn more. They (and we readers) get a very special treat in the form of a DC Comics Wild West All-Star Team: the Trigger Twins, Bat Lash, Nighthawk, Cinnamon, and Scalphunter have come to town to try and bring Bloody Jack to justice. There’s some macho posturing, and Scalphunter and Hex exchange blows, but the main action hits when Bloody Jack happens across the reunion.
Bloody Jack makes the mistake of shattering Hex’s booze bottle and the rest of the story features a scuffle fit for a greatest hits collection of Jonah Hex’s adventures. Any of the tall tales the boys exchanged pale in comparison to what happens here.
This book continues to be good and this issue is simply outrageous fun. Bernet’s art certainly helps. The art is only as detailed as it needs to be, frequently coming across as cartoony. The cartoonish art makes the characters spring to life, light on the page and filled with energy. Bernet’s style is filled with stark shadows and strong linework. The characters and their backgrounds work together, with neither piece being ignored.
Gray and Palmiotti continue to find new yarns to deliver about the ugliest man in the Old West. After fifty-seven issues, “Jonah Hex” has gotten to a point where I have started to expect formulaic tales or rehashed recollections of previous stories. That hasn’t happened yet, and the fact that Gray and Palmiotti can drop in consequences from previous stories without also having to install serious backlog illustrates just how deeply these two writers have become entrenched as the writers of “Jonah Hex.” They know Jonah Hex and they know what makes Hex tick. Their stories are always engaging and always entertaining. They may not always be as light-hearted as this issue is, but they do always offer a good, solid read.