October 13, 2007

Review of JONAH HEX #23

JONAH HEX #23 REVIEWArtist Jordi Bernet returns this issue to tell a particularly macabre story about Jonah being hired as a bodyguard and guide through Apache territory for a group of photographers. When the Apache are attacked by another tribe, the white men wind up at war as well, and Jonah finds himself chained up in the middle of the desert. Of course, anyone who knows anything about Jonah Hex would know this is just going to make him mad.Rob's review:  I'm not normally a JONAH HEX reader, but I bought this comic because of the Indian angle. As usual in comics these days, the results were mixed.

The story involves Hex escorting a photographer through Apache country. Kiowas attack the Apaches and kill Hex's friend Yellow Bear. Hex goes after the Kiowa to kill their leader and avenge Yellow Bear.

The good

  • One page shows Hex parlaying peacefully with Apaches. They're dressed appropriately and have wickiups rather than tipis. They talk of protecting their rights and fighting relocation.

  • The Kiowa have been forced into proximity by the white man's expansion. They don't just attack for no reason.

  • The white soldiers turn out to be even more villainous than the Kiowa.

  • The bad

  • The Kiowa are no different than a thousand previous hordes of murderous savages.

  • When Hex is thrown into a hole with the Kiowa, he kills them all without much sweat. It's another example of the white racial superiority so common in Westerns.

  • The ugly

  • "Their leader was of truly daunting size, with a razor-sharp, sinister face...."

  • "...a howl as dreadful as if a thousand devils had escaped Hell itself."

  • The writers might argue that they put these words into the mouth of the photographer--that they accurately reflected the white man's opinion of Indians at the time. Maybe so, but it was the writers' choice to present only the white man's perspective. They could've added a scene where the photographer learns the Kiowa are real people, not cardboard props.

    All in all, an average comic.

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