gc8's Jonah Hex #24 - Minister of the Lord review

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Jonah Hex comics were on a roll in 1979

Jonah Hex foreswears violence in 'Minister of the Lord'.
Jonah Hex foreswears violence in 'Minister of the Lord'.

Jonah Hex comics reached a creative plateau in 1979 beginning with issue #23. Issue 24 continues the excellent synergy of story and art.

The story, 'Minister of the Lord', has a reverend named Julian traveling with Jonah Hex as he hunts the Sam Bronson Gang. When the two are pinned down in an ambush by that gang, Hex resorts to his commonly used tactic of switching clothes with someone else (in this case Reverend Julian) in order to get the drop on the bad guys. Except this time things go awry when the gunfire causes an avalanche, burying Hex. When he emerges hours later he's lost his memory. Finding a letter in the pocket of the reverend's clothes he's now wearing, he assumes he's the Reverend Julian, en route to Fort Onondaga to take up a post as chaplain to the Sixth Cavalry.

But Fort Onondaga is under an Apache siege, and if that weren't enough, though he doesn't know it, the Sam Bronson Gang is still after him.

As mentioned in my review of last issue, it's not just the pencils and inks that deserve credit here; Bob Le Rose continues to take the art of coloring to new levels, creating highlights on the landscapes, adding dimension to the characters, and painting amazing Western skies, such as the one on the issue's splash page:

Colorist Bob Le Rose creates magnificent Western skies in Jonah Hex comics.
Colorist Bob Le Rose creates magnificent Western skies in Jonah Hex comics.

The artwork and the storytelling continue to have a cinematic quality, such as this showdown continually moving into closer angles with inset panels showing Hex's reaction:

The narrative and the panels take on a cinematic quality in Jonah Hex #24.
The narrative and the panels take on a cinematic quality in Jonah Hex #24.

If you only want to read the best of Jonah Hex, you could do a lot worse than reading his first few appearances in All-Star Western and Weird Western Tales before jumping straight to around issue 20 of Jonah Hex. Well worth your time.

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