Review – Jonah Hex: No Way Back

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Jonah Hex No Way BackJonah Hex isn’t the most well known DC character and property.  On June 18, Warner Bros. will be releasing a major motion picture based on the property starring Josh Brolin as Hex.  Just in time for the release of the movie the first original Jonah Hex graphic novel, Jonah Hex: No Way Back, is being released on June 2.

The graphic novel focuses on Hex’s rough family life and how he it transformed him into the vigilante he is.  Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, it features artwork from Tony DeZuniga.

Ride along with Hex as he comes to terms with the death of a loved one, long thought lost, battles El Papagayo and his gang of bandits and tries to make peace with his own frightening past to save his present.

The series is a great western tale of revenge and family that hearkens back to the western movie classics starring John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.  The idea is pretty basic, a family member is used to get Hex out into the open and along the way he meets the half brother he never knew.

Rarely is the presentation of the material discussed in reviews, but this graphic novel stands out enough to merit mention.  Whoever decided on the packaging deserves credit.  Instead of the usual flimsy cover or generic thick board, the front and back cover look like a warn journal that might of been found during the time.  It mimics worn leather with burnt in lettering.  The center features what looks like a photo from the time period that looks sunk into the cover.  I’ve seen journals that look exactly like this and the level of detail is great, down to the fake worn edges.  Top notch presentation.

The tale is entertaining and perfect for people knew to the character.  If you like westerns this is right up your ally.  Check out the full review below.

Plot: Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti brings a non-PC and visceral tale that doesn’t hold back.  The feel on the page is what I remember enjoying in westerns on the movie screen.  There’s a great mix of the personal and action, and of course what western would be complete without a stand off.  The graphic novel is entertaining and easily accessible for new readers (like myself) and I’d imagine long time Hex fans will find even more to enjoy as the story explores the character’s family history and what made him the man he is.  Rating: 8.5

Art: Tony DeZuniga’s art is hit and miss to me.  There are some great scenes and real nice action with some great detail but at times the art comes off as messy and the looks of characters isn’t consistent from page to page and some times panel to panel.  It by no means is distracting or hurts the comic at all, but it’s not quite what I’d expect for what clearly is a cornerstone book that was published in hopes to draw in new readers who are interested from the movie.  It doesn’t quite scream the level that either says mass appeal or make individuals want to check out more.  It’s decent, just not a stand out.  Rating: 7.25

Overall: The goal of this original graphic novel is two fold, appease longtime Jonah Hex fans and also be accessible to new readers.  It achieves both and then some.  The story is entertaining and definitely worth the read for fans of the western genre.  There’s a great mix of Hex’s life growing up, his dealing with present day family issues and of course shoot outs and stand offs.  This is the stereotypical western, and that’s not a bad thing at all.  Overall Rating: 8.25

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 127 pages of story    Price: $19.99     Release: 6/2/2010

DC provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.