Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cowboys, Cops and Ex-Mutants

I finally got around to reading Jonah Hex #3, and this is definitely one of my top 3 titles to be released in the past year. Hex is a classic character, but you don't have to know anything about his past (I sure as hell don't) to enjoy this series- especially since each issue is a whole self-contained story. Hex is drawn as a facially deformed Clint Eastwood, which fits the feel of the series like a well-worn cowboy hat. It has influences from both American and spaghetti westerns, which gives it a really international feeling even though it's set in the west. Hex has manners and is a true gentlemen even though he's a notorious bounty hunter, and the way he sometimes speaks to people he likes or respects reminds me of the best dialouge in Louis L'amour novels.

It's bloody as hell and doesn't mince words, and Hex is a great anti-hero: he'll track down the bad guys to avenge their victims, but he'll also kill without blinking if the person was asking for it. Call me sadistic, but I'm so tired of so many heroes letting a serial killing villian live no matter WHAT they do (The Joker probably pissing me off the most) so this series really satisfies my bloodlust. You can jump into this series at anytime with no background knowledge needed, so I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this series to everyone (except small children and people that don't like cool stuff.)

I'm not really a big Marvel person, though I don't judge what I read based on the company that releases it. That's just plain foolishness. DC just attracts me more, they have all my favorite characters (Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn... getting the picture yet?) and most of their stuff has a bit more maturity in my eyes. Thanks in part to my wonderful online subscription guys (shout out to Comics My Way!) who send me free comics in each mailing, I've been digging some Marvel stuff. I didn't follow House of M at all- Infinite Crisis has been sucking up my comic dollar already- but I've really enjoyed these first two issues of Generation M. It takes place after whatever the hell took away all the mutants... "muntantacity" (hey, it's a word now) and follows a regular woman who writes a column about mutants at an NYC paper. She's an alcoholic and has personal problems up to her chin, but she cleans herself up enough to cover the personal stories of mutants whose whole lives have been altered by the wipeout. The column becomes a smash hit and she's at the top of the world until she's given an anonymous manilla envelope filled with horrific photos of murders of former-mutants, with the words "Not Enough Died" at each crime scene. Creepy.

The plot is intriuging and interesting, and the mystery is sustained well by the deep characterization we're given of our heroine right away. The scene in issue #2 where she interviews a sad hooker who's now lost nearly all her business because she used to be a mutant with a power to bewitch men... it's such a depressing, harshly realistic scene that I still find myself thinking about it. I've never been able to get into the X-Men- save for the movies- so I'm very surprised by how much I'm loving this series. Since my beloved Gotham Central is ending next month, this makes a nice stand-in for gritty, "real people in a super-powered world" book.

Speaking of Gotham Central- what the hell? * Spoilers ahead, I'm already breaking my rules, I'm sorry but I gotta rant! * I was so, so sad when I heard Greg Rucka decided to end it, as it was a really original idea that was executed in a way very appealing to the more mature reader. Think "The Shield" or "NYPD Blue" if they took place in Gotham and had to deal with supervillians and keeping Batman from muscling in on all their cases. But in #38 they killed one of the main characters- a personal favorite who was one of the few sane, ethical cops on the force. The way they were demonizing her I was sure lesbian wild cannon Renee Montoya was going to get the big kiss-off, but no, it was her too-good-to-be-true partner.

Over time we've seen in bits how evil and corrupt fellow officer Jim Corrigan was- but seeing him torture and murder a fellow officer because he knew and saw too much- was actually hard for me to stomach. Next to what Black Mask did to Selina Kyle's sister & brother-in-law early in the current Catwoman series (which I direct to all people who call Black Mask a weak villian- damn) this scene had the most emotional impact on me. In last weeks issue #39, when the widow came in to talk to Renee I actually felt my chest tighten a bit. Rucka did such a great job of making him a whole character who loved his family, and the great job Kano/Gaudiano did to convey the expression of hopelessness and loss on her face just really sent it right home. After tearing down Detective Montoya and then killing her partner in cold blood... I'm no longer upset about this series ending. I'm just haven't enjoyed reading it for a few issues now. I just wish Rucka would have chosen a less heartbreaking ending for this groundbreaking series.


Blogger Charles said...

Oh gosh, Gotham Central sounds awesome... and they are ending it?!? DARN IT!!!

3:45 AM  
Blogger Scipio said...

Oh, I don't think you've heard the last of that officer.

Particularly now that he's dead...

11:16 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

I didn't have a lot of initial interest in the Jonah Hex book, but based on what people have been saying all over the place online (and now your comments, too), I just may have to check out the trade.

8:10 AM  

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