It’s sometimes hard to think of “Jonah Hex” as an ongoing comic series that’s coming out right now. There’s a very classic feel to the book any time I pick it up with its self-contained stories, straight forward storytelling, and solid art. If it were colored the way that comics were 20 years ago, you could put out a collection with the word ‘archive’ on the cover and I doubt many would notice. There’s something very nice and comforting about that. You pick up an issue of “Jonah Hex” and there’s a standard level of quality to be found, but it also rarely rises above that standard. Issues tend to hit their mark and that’s that. Issue 63 is no exception: a solid, entertaining issue that leaves little lasting impression. Disposable comic book entertainment at its finest.
In this issue, Hex is hired by a town to hunt down a killer and rapist of children, which brings up memories of a childhood friend killed by a man. Where the two stories intertwine is in how Hex focuses on what was done to killer when he was kid and how that always stayed with him, and it informs how he deals with the killer he’s hunting in the present. There’s never any doubt that Hex will find the man and get him, even when there’s an attempt to kill Hex using someone he trusts.
The lack of suspense and the knowledge that Hex will find who he’s after is part of the book’s charm. It’s the journey that matters. The way that his childhood memory unfolds, slowly and interspersed with his current activity, informs that story and gives it more flavor. We watch as the hunt turns from a job to something personal for Hex. That added touch makes the story a little less easy to shake, a little more engaging.
Jordi Bernet’s art is a good fit for the book. It’s a rough-yet-hard-edged style of thick, angular lines. It’s both simple and complex, judicious in how many lines are used for detail and when. The characters are expressive in their faces and mannerisms, except for Hex, who keeps the same look on his face, that mean scowl. Within that scowl, Bernet finds a range of sorts to show different emotions, but not a lot.
I don’t pick up every issue of “Jonah Hex,” but, when I do, I always enjoy the comic. It’s not a ‘set the world on fire’ sort of read, it’s a solid, entertaining one. The sort that you read and put away and some day find a stash of when we’ve forgotten you had them. This issue fits the bill perfectly and manages to add that extra level of personal involvement to the story.