The GeeksverseLeaving Proof 13 | “Jonah Hex: No Way Back” GN review

Leaving Proof 13 | “Jonah Hex: No Way Back” GN review
Published on Thursday, October 21, 2010 by

[Author’s note: The text in this article originally appeared on http://kittyspryde.forumotion.com on 25 September 2010 and may have had its content changed or edited since its initial online publication]

Jonah Hex: No Way Back
  • (DC Comics, 2010; 136 pages)
  • Writers: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
  • Pencils: Tony DeZuniga
  • Inks: Tony DeZuniga and John Stanisci
  • Colours: Rob Schwager
  • Letters: Rob Leigh
  • Cover Price: $19.99 US/$23.99 CAN
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Jonah Hex was created in 1972 by writer John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga. The horribly disfigured gunfighter had a successful two-year run as the featured character in All-Star Western (later re-named Weird Western Tales) before getting his own comic book series in 1977, a title that would last for eight years, quite an achievement considering how the market was dominated by superhero books by that time. In an attempt to revive flagging interest in the character, DC re-introduced the character as a time-displaced warrior in the far 21st century in a comic book series simply titled Hex, an experiment that largely failed commercially, leading to the comic’s cancellation after just 18 issues. There have been numerous attempts since then to re-establish the character, the latest being an on-going series (that started in 2005) set in the 19th century written by the duo of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti.

No Way Back is set somewhat late in Jonah Hex’s career as a gun-for-hire, and he is portrayed here as a hard-bitten veteran, sustained as much by the violence of his profession as he is by its material benefits. When he is given a contract to hunt down his mother, whom he thought long-deceased, for the murder of a man, well, as the cliché goes, “all hell breaks loose.” Gray and Palmiotti successfully craft a dark world for the character of Hex to inhabit. This isn’t Hollywood’s idealized Old West, but a perilous frontier populated by opportunistic and often dangerous men and women.

Tony DeZuniga returns to illustrate the adventures of the character he helped create almost four decades ago. He was, in terms of popularity with the fans, perhaps one of the less prominent members of the first wave of Filipino artists to join DC Comics during the early 1970s (a group that included the legendary Alfredo Alcala, Nestor Redondo, and Alex Niño). Being a relatively lesser light in that generation of superlative artists is no small thing though, and DeZuniga’s work, even at his advanced age, is still quite impressive and better in many ways than a lot of the digitally-inked stuff out there.

A solid, hard-edged Western that pulls no punches. Recommended.

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