My great love for the Jonah Hex Showcase volume should be obvious by now. Go buy it. Seriously, it's one of the better Showcase collections, and some of the best hard-core western tales you'll read and ... for the cheap! To me, it represents the definitive Jonah.
Modern day Jonah Hex fans can find his tales being spun in the current monthly Jonah Hex series. This series is the first one since those olden days (no) to really (Hex didn't happen) try to fire (It's a lie) some new life (Didn't happen) into the old (*MahMahMahMahMa....* Not listening...) character. It's fantastic. But after spending a week reading those old stories, it is a bit different. But still fantastic, make no mistake.
A few differences I've noticed:
In several stories of the recent issues of modern Jonah Hex, Hex will find out that the bounty he filled was actually for a good guy who was wrongly framed and the bounty placed on him by said framer. He then takes it upon himself to right that wrong (usually at the behest of victimized maiden) and go after the guy who originally put up the bounty.
The old-school Jonah would never do this. He's not a hero. Actually, he's kind of a dick. Badass yes, but a dick. And he's been paid. The job was done, it's not his place, and most of all: He would never A) Double cross a paid bounty (mentioned several times), and B) Go to that much trouble without a personal slight or payment. Payment being the big decider.
There are also some stories where Hex comes to a random town (not to deliver a bounty, mind you), and notices something wrong. Maybe a corrupt mayor running the town for his own benefit, maybe some criminal hiding out .. whatever. Hex then takes it upon himself (again, usually at the behest of victimized maiden) to clean up the town.
Old school Hex? Wouldn't happen. Moving through. No money, nothing personal, no stake.
And of course, there's the often mentioned villainous plot device of rape in the current series. To me, it's not a problem if it moves the plot along realistically - and if it's used sparingly, which it isn't. If I had to guess, I believe it's used to justify the rationale for Hex to forgo bounties, money, vendettas in order to do the right thing ... you know, all the things that Make Hex Work!
And that's my biggest complaint of this new series: It's trying it's damnest to paint Hex as some kind of good natured roguish bounty hunter. He ain't. Understand this. He's a Badass killer for hire. He's efficient, driven, greedy, a major asshole, destructive, and most of all Selfish! And I mean "Selfish!" in the classical sense: "My needs above all else. Always." Do nothing if it does not benefit me.
Trying to change Hex from the selfish anti-hero to the roguish actual-hero really bothers me. Mind you, it's an asshole badass hero they're going for, but they're still pushing the hero button. Hex is not Han Solo. Hex is more along the lines of Lobo or Sabertooth (Ug.. I actually shuddered at that comparison...) Hex is a Badass selfish bastard. Let's keep it that way.
That's the biggest difference between the Showcase old-school Hex stories and this new incarnation, as far as I see it.
I freggin' love the new series! Don't get me wrong based on the above - these are some fantastic stories! I routinely will get that same, "Oh, Crap! Hex is gonna slaughter the whole town after that!" feeling, and love the pacing to the unavoidable finish when Hex kicks the crap out of everyone. The art's fantastic, too. Hasn't been a misstep in that area at all. These are mighty fine western stories and, easily in my top 5 weekly lookin' forward to comics in general. You should read.
I re-read a bit of the new series for this, and was re-impressed. Some examples of what I call Old-school Hex from my favorite issue, #5:
Hex arrives. Hex destroys. Bounty pisses him off. Goodness.
One Final Badass Panel:
AHHHHHHHH!!!!!! *whew* AHHHHHHH!!!!!!
Well, I hope you've enjoyed the very first Theme Week here at The Want List! I'll try to do these sporadically.. or when I get bored with Photoshopping bad jokes. Or whenever.
Tomorrow: Possibly an extra. Now that I've re-read the current run, I think I have one more... maybe. Depends on how the bars treat me tonight... Later!