Wes Serafine

Equinox Staff


To close out our look at DC’s Zero Month, we have a special treat for you guys. Growing up with the reputation as the comic book guy, I’m often asked who my favorite superhero is.

While I’ve always been partial to well-known characters such as Batman, Superman, or Captain America, if I were to pick my real favorite superhero it would be a character by the name of Jonah Hex.

Who is Jonah Hex? To answer that question, it’s time for a little lesson in comic book history.

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In the 1950s, superhero comics had fallen out of popularity due to increased censorship from the Comics Code Authority. At the same time, there was a surge in the popularity of western themed comics.

In the 1970s, DC comics introduced one of the most popular and enduring characters to emerge from this genre: Jonah Hex, a tough-as-nails bounty hunter with a severely scarred face.

Hex has no powers to speak of, just a strong code of justice and skills with any weapon he can find. Over the years Jonah Hex has battled both traditional western outlaws and supernatural threats alike.

In 2010, a feature film was made about the character.

Despite Josh Brolin doing an excellent job portraying Hex, the film did not fare well with critics or fans due to some questionable ill-advised choices in casting and the decision to give Jonah Hex the power to talk to the dead, something that he’s never been able to do in any of the comics.

This is a shame, because Hex is a character with a rich history and a great deal of potential for mainstream popularity.

Today’s comic deals with the origin story of Jonah Hex. However, it’s presented differently than it would be in a traditional origin comic.

Instead, different aspects of his history are presented in short vignettes. Readers see Hex being born and being abused by his alcoholic father.

His mother abandons him because she simply cannot take another beating.

His father sells him to a tribe of Native Americans to pay off his gambling debts, and the tribe raises him as one of their own only to have his jealous, adoptive brother turn on him and leave him for dead.

The author shows Hex fighting in the civil war, getting captured and tortured by Union soldiers. Everything that has shaped Hex’s life is shown to the reader, each event lasting just long enough to make its point and say what it needs to say.

The highlight of the comic is when Hex returns to the tribe to challenge his adoptive brother in a fight to the death. The rules are simple: They must battle using only tomahawks, and the victor will be the last man left alive.

Upon learning that his brother cheated by giving him a sabotaged tomahawk, Hex pulls a small knife and slits his throat.

Since Jonah cannot prove  his brother cheated, Hex must face the consequences for breaking the rules of combat.

He is exiled from the tribe and has a hot tomahawk pressed against his face, giving him his iconic scar.

This comic is a fairly straightforward story, giving us the origin in an interesting way that holds our attention.

It is exactly the kind of story I expected out of Jonah Hex, a dark western-style story with elements of tragedy thrown in.

The artwork is just okay. It is certainly legible and does a great job with facial expressions.

A lot of Hex’s evolution can be evidenced in his face. When he’s a little kid, you don’t see the cold-hearted bounty hunter he’ll become; you see a kid who is scared and wants his mother.

The more tragedy and hardship Hex endures, the more grizzled and weary his face becomes until finally his face is permanently scarred both literally and figuratively.

The only character that is really focused on in this issue is Hex himself and he’s brilliantly written. The theme of this comic is how a tragic life can harden and strengthen a man.

In the first scene, when Jonah is born, Jonah’s father brutally kills several corrupt lawmen, who are trying to stir up trouble. A line that stands out to me is “Ah got me a son, gonna name him Jonah. Ah reckon ah’ll teach him everythin’ ah know ‘bout people like you.”

Even though Hex’s father becomes a drunk later in his son’s life, in a way, he still kept his promise to teach him everything he knows about evil people.

If Hex’s father had not been an abusive monster, he may never have become the strong and honorable man he grew up to be. You can decide for yourself which fate would have been better.

Like I said, this is exactly what I wanted out of Jonah Hex, and I look forward to seeing more in the coming year.





Wes Serafine can be contacted at



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