Jonah Hex is one of the best modern Western comics.

That it’s also one of only a few of the modern comics in the Western genre doesn’t take away from its quality. It just reinforces that it’s a shame that the genre isn’t nearly as popular as it once was. Regardless, the 2006 Jonah Hex series was great, with mostly self-contained tales featuring a variety of incredible artists like Darwyn Cooke, Jordi Bernet, Luke Ross, Tony DeZuniga, Brian Stelfeeze, Eduardo Risso, and more.

Including an issue illustrated by JH Williams III.

Might be all the bullets and corpses.”

“A Crude Offer” appeared in Jonah Hex #35 from Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Williams, Dave Stewart, and Rob Leigh. It features Jonah as a member of a marshal’s posse put together to take down an outlaw gang with a Gatling gun and the indecent proposal that the marshal makes after all is said and done.

This issue eschews with some of its trademarks. No title cards. Nor elaborate colourful narration sequences that hammer home the cold and harsh reality of America’s Old West. No. Instead it takes a more minimalist approach, revealing the nature of the landscape through spare dialogue and glorious artwork.

And the art truly is gorgeous. The storytelling impeccable.

Williams incorporates different styles of presentation for each sequence, from the inset panels of the action scenes, a composite silhouette for one of the deputies’ assault, quiet moments of nature that draw out the tension, to the relative structure of the pages and panels of the Marshal’s life, before coherence starts to break down and the layouts become wavy.

These latter portions assisted greatly by a more psychedelic colour scheme from Dave Stewart and a more shaky font and word balloon from Rob Leigh. It gives the entire sequence a hallucinatory effect.

You think… about why I ain’t killed ya yet…”

There is, of course, more to Jonah Hex #35 from Gray, Palmiotti, Williams, Stewart, and Leigh than just gorgeous art. There’s an interesting meditation on Jonah Hex’s morality in the face of that indecent proposal from the marshal. On how a man of Hex’s flexible mercenary vocation would approach indelicate matters. And it exemplifies that any single issue in this series could be a masterpiece.

Jonah Hex #35

Classic Comic Compendium: JONAH HEX #35

Jonah Hex #35
Writers: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: JH Williams III
Colourist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: September 4 2008
Available collected in Jonah Hex – Volume 6: Bullets Don’t Lie

Read past entries in the Classic Comic Compendium!


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