In Jonah Hex’s first original graphic novel, Jonah’s old life hits close to home as he deals with old and new family members, from a life once forgotten, and with old enemies that curse his name. This self-contained story is accessible to many, if not all, people who are interested or already know the character of Jonah Hex. It’s only in Hardcover form at this time and costs $19.99
Before I get into the actual story, there’s one thing I want to mention. Everything about this book has a Wild West feel to it, including the cover. It looks like a beat up old book you found in your Grandma’s attic, which she got from her Grandma. That in itself, to me, just adds to how great this book was. Anyway, this, by far, is my favorite Jonah Hex story that Gray and Palmiotti have done together, better than issue 50 for me. Not only does this book go back into Jonah’s childhood, giving the reader a glimpse into Jonah’s terrible childhood, but it also brings back one of Jonah’s enemies, El Papagayo. Other than the recent Six Gun War storyline, El Papagayo, which translates to The Parrot, hasn’t been used since the 80s, and only a few times at that, and his connection to Jonah, which is revealed in this storyline, gives this character a deeper purpose and makes him a lot more interesting character by separating him from the more cheesy 80s version of the character. As always, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti's writing is spot on. It's gritty, violent, immoral, and everything you'd want to see in a wild west based comic book. Tony DeZuniga's art is the same way, incredibly gritty, and fits this story wonderfully. Normally, I don't think I'd like his art, but it works very well for this book. There's little to nothing bad I could say about this book. It's addictive and well worth the time and money.
Ok, so there is one kind of bad thing I could say about this book, but it really isn't THAT bad. I wish this book could have delved a little deeper into Jonah's "origin" for the sake of the newer readers. We do get one page of how Jonah's face got distorted, but I would have liked to see maybe a page or two more explaining it in a little more detail. There's one other thing that I felt was pretty bad, I couldn't put the book down. I would have read it while driving my car this afternoon, if that weren't illegal. Needless to say, I was late to work because this book had 100% of my attention from beginning to end.
The Verdict – 5/5
There's going to be a lot of comparison between this book and Brian Azzarello's Joker Original Graphic Novel (OGN) from a year and a half ago. As much as I loved Joker, I loved this one a little more, mainly because I'm a huge Jonah Hex fan though. In the next month or so, there's a Jonah Hex film coming out soon, and whether you think it looks great or terrible, you should keep not only this OGN in mind, but Gray and Palmiotti's on-going Jonah Hex series in mind. They've done a great job with the character, especially with this OGN. So, if you've never read Jonah Hex before, pick this book up. Sure, you may not get the "origin" of Jonah's scars, but do you really need to know them for this? Not really. You just need to know that Jonah is a 100% wild west tough guy who will do anything he has to, to stay alive.