Comics Reviews: Jonah Hex 42, Warlord 39

Jonah Hex 42 coverJonah Hex #42 – “Wanted for Murder” – Michael Fleisher/Gerald Forton

This one starts with a bunch of sheep rustlers herding their stolen flock down a trail. We learn they’ve already run into Jonah Hex (one guy is wearing Hex’s famous Confederate jacket) and strung him up from a tree. They probably should’ve waited around to make sure he died, but you know how impatient rustlers are. Hex ambushes them, killing or capturing most of the gang except the leader, Sugar Wallace, who takes off with the sheep. Hex heads back to town with the men he took down, wondering why a bank robber like Wallace would suddenly get involved in sheep rustling. In town, the mayor gives Hex a warm welcome when he brings in Wallace’s gang, but we soon see the mayor isn’t as nice as he seems. He (along with other prominent businessmen in town) hired Wallace to run off some sheep ranchers so the businessmen could buy their land cheap. There’s a newHex kills ambushers railroad spur coming through (which isn’t general knowledge) so the land will son be worth a lot more. But Hex showed up and took it upon himself to take care of Wallace’s gang, so things haven’t been going as planned. Wallace says he’ll take care of Hex and that’ll get things back on track. That night, Wallace and his men force a floozy from the gambling hall to help them get to Hex. He’s suspicious when the woman comes knocking at his door, so he jams a chair under the knob and climbs out the window. When Wallace and his men bust in, Hex tosses some dynamite into the room (where does he keep that stuff?), blowing them to hell. More thugs are waiting in the street, but Hex jumps off the roof and wastes all of them. The mayor and his cronies figure their scheme is done, now that Wallace is dead, but one of them has an idea how to deal with Hex. He says there’s a U.S. Marshal named Jeremiah Hart Hart catches outlawwho might just be fast enough to take out Hex … and if they play their cards right, they can get him to do it for free. We see Hart outside a mine where an outlaw named Spast has killed a man and taken his wife hostage. Hart uses a mine cart to distract Spast, who blows it up with dynamite—I guess Hex isn’t the only one who likes that stuff. But the cart was just to draw Spast’s attention, and Hart pops up and wounds him. The widow wants Hart to kill Spast, but Hart says that’s the hangman’s job, not his. Hart takes Spast back to his own home, where he lives with his aunt and (I think) little brother Petey … at least, they both refer to the woman as “Aunt Gerry”. After supper, Petey asks Hart to do his silver dollar trick and Hart does it, shooting a hole in four silver dollars that Petey throws up in the air. Petey is pretty impressed, but Hart says there’s one other man he knows of who could probably do the same thing … a bounty hunter who works alone. Speaking of which, we see Hex stopping a runaway buckboard with a frightened woman in it from plunging over a cliff. The woman turns out to be Mei Ling, the Chinese woman HexHex and Mei Ling fell for back in issue #23. He still blames himself for her father’s death, but Mei Ling doesn’t, and she’s glad to see him again. Her leg is broken, so Hex takes her to a nearby farmhouse to recover. The housewife is pretty accommodating—I guess not everybody hated Chinese people on sight back then. Hex still loves Mei Ling, but she still says she can’t return his love until he gives up his violent life and settles down. Hex isn’t sure that’s possible, but says he’d be willing to try, for her sake. Back in town, the mayor and his pals have decided the best way to get Marshal Hart to go after Hex is to frame him for a crime. Unfortunately for one of the conspirators (Jefferies), the crime Hex is being framed for is his murder. The mayor shoots Jefferies and when Hex comes into town to get a doctor for Mei Ling, the mayor tells him some of Wallace’s men killed Jefferies and robbed the bank. They offer a $10,000 reward for the gang’s capture, so Hex says he’ll go after them as soon as he gets the doctor to Mei Ling. Meanwhile, the mayor has sent a telegram to Hart telling him Hex is a murderer and needs to be brought in. We’ll see what happens next issue.

Warlord 39 coverWarlord #39 – “The Feast of Agravar” – Mike Grell/Vince Colletta

This one starts with Morgan bidding farewell to Aton, his old steward, who he ran into again last issue. Morgan and Shakira fly off on the winged horse, Firewing. They’re soon attacked by pterodactyls, but Morgan uses some old Air Force tricks to lose them. We see the attack wasn’t random, as an armoured soldier confers with a wooden box about the failed attack on Morgan. (Yeah, I know it sounds weird, but the guy is talking to a box; don’t worry, it’ll all be explained eventually.) Morgan and Shakira notice an old ruin and land to take a closer look. Shakira’s not interested, finding history (especially human history) boring. She’s more concerned with Firewing, who was wounded when the pterodactyls attacked. Shakira thinks they should let Firewing go before he really gets hurt, but Morgan disagrees, saying Firewing belongs to him andMorgan tells Shakira about Atlantis he can do whatever he wants with the horse. Morgan heads into the ruins as Shakira stays behind to look after the wounded horse. The ruins are Atlantean, as Morgan suspected, and he trips an automated circuit, bringing the whole complex to full power. Shakira comes in, wondering at all the unfamiliar technology. Morgan recounts how a group of Atlanteans fled the destruction of their realm and ended up in Skartaris, but couldn’t shed their human failings and ended up destroying themselves with their advanced weapons. Morgan marvels at the weaponry left behind, still in pristine condition after centuries. As they check out the rest of the complex, Shakira gets nervous, but Morgan is happy to see some homey touches. A robot butler pops out and says it was built to serve the Atlanteans. The butler offers them wine Agravar rising(which Shakira laps like a cat) and says they’re just in time for the Feast of Agravar. Naturally, the wine is drugged (how did Morgan not see that coming?) and they wake up in a double bondage pose on a stone table. The robot butler explains that the sacrificial altar was built over Agravar’s lair (a deep hole in the floor) by superstitious tribesmen who moved into the complex after the Atlanteans perished. The tribe sacrificed people to Agravar and the robot tries to keep up that tradition to keep Agravar from wrecking the complex. Shakira changes to cat form and runs off, just before Agravar rises from its pit. Agravar is some kind of huge serpent-worm and Morgan just manages to bust his restraints before the monster can eat him. Shakira has made her way back to the armoury, where she uses a laser rifle to blow awayShakira blasts Agravar the pursuing robot. Morgan tries to throw a metal machine at Agravar, but it dissolves as soon as it touches Agravar’s acid-covered skin. Shakira shows up just in time and blasts Agravar with the laser rifle, saving Morgan’s ass. When they get outside, Firewind is gone and Shakira admits she set him free. Morgan is pissed off, but Shakira says Firewind had to be free to follow his own path … which seems to consist of hot horse sex with another pegasus. In an epilogue, we see Aton finding the wreckage of the Lady J, the boat that Morgan’s daughter Jennifer was traveling on last issue.

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