The unique selling point of the most recent Jonah Hex series (just cancelled in the DC reboot and replaced with a new Western title, ‘All-Star Western’) was that most issues of the monthly comic contained done-in-one stories, and the eventual trade paperback collections – no fancy deluxe hardcovers for this series – read like short story collections, usually featuring work by multiple artists, even if the stories were always written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. The series wasn’t entirely self-contained – I think there were a couple of two or three part stories, and supporting characters frequently recurred, so some familiarity with previous issues of the series was often useful – but it was usually just about possible to pick up a single issue of Jonah Hex and enjoy it on its own, which is more than you can say for most other comics published these days. However, The Six Gun War, which collects JH issues 44 to 49, was the nearest this series got to a ‘crossover event’, with one story, in which Jonah teams up with several other DC Western characters, running over six whole issues.
The story starts with Hex getting ambushed by plantation owner Quentin Turnbull, who (wrongly) believes that Hex was responsible for the death of his son during the Civil War (not the Marvel one). Turnbull buries Hex alive and leaves him for dead but, thanks to the timely arrival of some grave robbers, Hex gets free and goes looking for revenge with the help of Bat Lash, El Diablo, scar-faced female bounty hunter Tallulah Black, and some Comanche warriors he encounters along the way. It’s a bloody, violent book, with some great dialogue in it – I particularly liked some of the insults exchanged between Bat Lash and Tallulah Black (Mexican Bandit: ‘Don’t try to hide, we have you outnumbered! Give us the woman!’ Bat Lash: ‘Heh, heh, ha ha... give us the woman... heh...’ Tallula Black: ‘Whut’s so damned funny about that?’ Bat Lash: ‘They clearly didn’t get a good look at you. If they did, they’d be asking for the horses instead.’) – and decent art by Christiano Cucina, who is not as good as some of the artists that have worked on this series, but better than others.
After a six-issue build-up, the ending seemed like a bit of an anti-climax, and I think I prefer the short story format of previous volumes, but this was still an enjoyable read.
Cost: This has a (Titan Books) cover price of £10.99. I bought my copy from Amazon, where it was (and still is) priced at £9.89, and paid for it using a gift certificate I got by trading in some of my Nectar points, so it sort of didn't cost me anything. (Top Tip: Not only can you exchange your Nectar points for Amazon vouchers, you can also collect Nectar points on your Amazon purchases if you log into Amazon via the Nectar website.)