And Then I Read: AGE OF BRONZE 27, JONAH HEX 35

ageofbronze27

© Eric Shanower.

Twenty-seven issues over I don’t know how many years, but a lot, and the Trojan War is well and truly begun at last. And that’s not to disparage any of the previous story, I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. I think Homer himself would be intrigued by the lengths Eric Shanower has gone to create this fully-rounded story, adding elements from other sources wherever he thought they were appropriate, so it is, in fact, even more detailed than Homer’s poem. And now we begin the real core of it, as the Achaeans’ mighty fleet lands on the Trojan shore and men begin to fight and die. The only slight drawback of reading this story in occasional bits is the very large cast gets confusing. I’m sure that would be less the case if one were to read the collected editions, and I may go back and do that someday. Meanwhile, even in short installments, it’s a grand achievement, and recommended.

jonahhex35

© DC Comics, Inc.

Regular writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti are joined by my friend and one of my favorite artists for this issue, J.H. Williams III. I haven’t read a Jonah Hex story in a long time, but back in the 1980s I lettered some, and read others, most written by Michael Fleisher. The character of Hex in this issue seems pretty true to the one I remember, and his character is certainly complex. In a way, he’s the Old West’s equivalent of Two-Face, both visually, and in his conflicted nature, but with the good side usually in charge. The subject of this issue is a strange one for Hex, but all the more intriguing for that: sex. Specifically, Hex is made a “crude offer,” and given the opportunity for a night of pleasure with a married woman, with the eager consent of her husband. It seems she wants a child, and he’s unable to give her one. Hex’s reaction to this offer is intriguing, and not at all what I expected, but in the end it seemed very true to his character.

jonahhex35page

I’m sure it’ll be no surprise that I loved the art. J.H. seems to enjoy westerns, he did a bang-up job with the western portion of Seven Soldiers #0 he did, and this is equally brilliant. And he’s always thinking visually about his work. The above spread is designed beautifully, with the dramatic large panel, the staccato of the round bullet hits (and notice the rough edged panels, so appropriate!) and then the quick vertical slices of action at the bottom. And every page is this good, and this well thought-out. I don’t know if I’ll be visiting JONAH HEX again anytime soon, but I really enjoyed this issue. Highly recommended!

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