REVIEW: ‘Jonah Hex: Welcome to Paradise’

Jonah Hex ClassicBack in the days before comic books became collectibles and graphic novels evolved into their own literary genre, DC Comics put out a slew of western and weird western comic books.

The most popular character was Jonah Hex, a ruthless bounty hunter with uncanny tracking skills and a quick draw who is relentlessly hounded by a vengeful “man from Virginia with an eagle-tipped cane.”

Jonah Hex: Welcome to Paradise is a collection of early Jonah Hex stories from the DC comics. In addition to thrilling chases, shoot-outs and a familiar hodgepodge of western settings and character types, the collection offers a flashback origin story explaining how Jonah Hex unfairly became a pariah, and unjustly accused of betraying the Confederacy. It does not describe how he got that face, which is highly symbolic of his own inner struggle between good and evil, wanting to fit in but being unfit for society. In fact, every good person he befriends in these stories either dies, betrays or shuns him. He walks the line between hero and villain.

There are no supernatural or paranormal elements–Hex is just a man, not a demon or someone who dealt with the devil. The horror is more psychological, and while there is plenty of mayhem, it’s all gore-free.

There are nine classic tales in this collection, all from the 1970s, including All-Star Western #10, Weird Western Tales #14, 17, 22, 26, 29 and 30, and Jonah Hex #2 and 4. The stories were written by John Albano and Michael Fleischer, with art by Tony Dezuniga, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and others.

About Patrick Dornhttp://patrickdorn.wordpress.comPlaywright, Fiction Writer, Theatre Critic.

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