Sunday, June 20, 2010

No way back

No Way Back is the first Jonah Hex graphic novel. It was written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, who have been writing the current regular series for five years now. It is penciled and co-inked by Tony DeZuniga, who created Hex with John Albano.

The regular series has maintained a consistent level of excellence. Palmiotti and Gray have a genuine feel for the character. This is especially clear when reading this and seeing their plot and words drawn by DeZuniga and seeing how it doesn't hit a false note at all.

Hex is drawn into a trap by bandits, led by recurring series villain El Papagayo, with a wanted poster offering a reward for his long-lost mother. Finding her dying and delusional leads him to take her body to his brother that he never knew about.

All of this could have been done with some level of sentiment that would be inappropriate for Hex's character, but it's not at all. As with the best stories about Hex's past and relations, it expands our knowledge of his person and his life, while offering nothing that attempts to alter what we already understood. Hex takes all of this with his same bitter cynicism and professionalism as he would anything else.

Which isn't to say there's no depth to the story or Hex's reactions. It's only to say that they are played out subtly and sub-textually, as fits the character and type of story being told.

I admit, I was ambivalent coming into this. The idea of a fully planned graphic novel of Jonah Hex was promising, and yet most of Hex's best stories have been, if anything, better for their brevity. This knocked any concerns I had out of the park.

The writing by Palmiotti and Gray is confident and sharp. The DeZuniga is as good as ever, which is to say amazing! The colors by Rob Schwager are like moody washed out water colors, matching the style of DeZuniga's art and the tone of the story perfectly.

This is a fantastic bit of comic storytelling. Definitely check it out!

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