Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jonah Hex: 'Six Gun War' Parts Three and Four (Issues 46 and 47)

Unfortunately, the momentum generated by the first two episodes in this mini-series (Jonah Hex issues 44 and 45) is dissipated in parts three and four (Jonah Hex issues 46 and 47).

In issue 46 the main storyline gets put in abeyance as the reader is treated to a prolonged flashback sequence. I won't divulge any spoilers, but the plot features some uncharacteristic behavior on the part of Jonah Hex that longtime fans probably won't appreciate. There is also a sequence that borrows pretty heavily from the 1976 Clint Eastwood Western film 'The Outlaw Josey Wales'.

While various psychological dramas are playing out with Hex, his enemies - El Papagayo and Quentin Turnbull - have set up shop far South of the Border among some ruins of Aztec or Incan pedigree:

Issue 47 picks up with a seemingly strong start as Jonah, accompanied by various friends and comrades and some Apache Indians, heads for a violent showdown with some bandidos.

But the small, crowded panels, the somber color scheme, and the rather roughly sketched figures hamper the clarity of the narrative, and it is a chore for the reader to try and parse out which of the gray-clad individuals is a bandido, and which is a member of the Hex team. This section of the book comes across as filler, and a distraction to the main storyline.

Later in the issue we're treated to some scheming by Turnbull, which manifests when Hex and friends rest up for the night in a seedy tavern in a small town in Mexico. Some very, very bad hombres are waiting for Hex and friends to drink a little too much and sleep a little too soundly....

The issue ends on an intriguing note, and hopefully the next installment in the miniseries will shift away from showcasing bands of horsemen riding around the desert and exchanging gunfire, and instead get back to the theme of spaghetti-Western bloody vengeance that made the first two installments so notable.

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