Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jonah Hex: No Way Back

Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Tony DeZuniga

I'm pretty sure that, had someone not decided to make a Jonah Hex movie (which is a pretty odd decision, all things considered), this graphic novel would not exist.  I imagine that the same thinking that currently has Marvel pumping out something like six Thor books a month was at work here - the belief that throngs of people would leave the Jonah Hex movie and head directly to their closest comic store (or large, soulless chain book store), and demand as much Hex as they can get their hands on.  And, of course, the excellent run of trades collecting Palmiotti and Gray's excellent monthly series wouldn't be enough, so they needed to get a new hardcover out there.

Does that ever work?  I'd be curious to hear from retailers about this phenomenon, and if flooding the market with new material attracts new customers or just confuses them into beating a hasty retreat.

Anyway, the book deserves to be examined on its own merits, and not just as an example of a questionable business practice.  Because it's a good book.  But then, of course it is.  Palmiotti and Gray consistently do good work with Jonah Hex (although I think they've had more off-months than on lately), and the art is by Tony DeZuniga, a DC legend.  The story involves Hex's mother, who had abandoned him as a small child, and the quest for revenge of El Papagayo, the always-funny Mexican villain who rides after Hex with a parrot on his arm.  DeZuniga's art is the same as always - terrific, if a little too scratchy in places.

I liked the book, but can't help but think that it would have worked just as well as a three-part arc on the regular series.  There was no real reason for this to get a hardcover treatment, aside from the movie.  But, if you like Jonah Hex, this is a great example of what the book is like when it is at its best.

1 comment:

Jimmy Palmiotti said...

We thought the hardcover treatment was a good idea because it featured Tony's artwork. and dc felt it might be a cool thing to have for the movie release...and yes, it did extremly well. thanks for the nice review.