Hex #1 (September, 1985)
“Once Upon a Time… in the West?!?”
Writer/Editor – Michael Fleisher
Artist – Mark Texeira
Colors – Bob LeRose
Letters – Peter Iro
Logo Design – Ed Hannigan
Cover Price: $0.75
Haven’t talked about Hex in ages here! I wanna say that the last time we did was… probably my first sorta-kinda negative “review” on the site!
Since I finally found the last issue of the series that I needed to complete this run yesterday, I decided… ehh, why not give ol’ Jonah another look?
We open with Jonah waking up in a saloon… and he’s rather surprised that his old associates are nowhere to be found. Ya see, last he can remember, we was ’bout to slap leather with a damned Owlhoot… which, with my best guess, either means fight, or make love to. Just then, an hombre called El Papagayo bursts through the doors promising to prove that he’s the fastest gunfighter north of the Rio Grande. Jonah blasts him in the belly, revealing Papagayo as being… a robot?!
We can see that this entire event is being played on a monitor a few rooms over. Looks like Jonah’s being observed… for one reason or another. Hex drops his flimsy piece and leaves the saloon… winding up in very strange surroundings indeed.
Jonah is immediately swarmed by a few armored geeks. He goes to make an escape, but is unsuccessful. After received a few blasts to the back, he is taken before… some guy, in a flying saucer-shaped, uh… office? He introduces himself as Reinhold Borsten and informs Jonah that he is currently in Seattle. Borsten makes it clear that he’s a fan of “fighting men” and considers himself a student of the “art of war”.
Looks like the Borsten has collected “fighting men” from all throughout time. As his story continues, Jonah begins to… in their words, “overload”. He is then sedated and placed in a pod. Not long after, Jonah bursts out of said pod… and discovers that there are dozens of pod people around him.
On his way out of the area, he finds a glass case with weapons from all throughout time… including a pair of sidearms. He kicks in the case and takes ’em. This, unfortunately… but predictably, sets off an alarm.
He is soon descended on by a bunch of geeks. Jonah manages to kayo the first one… then, he places his hat on the feller’s head, so the other guards might get confused (for all of a few seconds). Lucky for him, it’s enough of a distraction for him to escape to the outside!
Jonah hitches a ride underneath a garbage truck that’s taking radioactive waste to be dumped out in the wastelands. When far enough out, he drops off. The garbage men spot him immediately, and attempt to run him down. Hex pulls his piece… and pops’em both in the head!
After flipping the trash-truck, Jonah continues his wasteland tour… immediately coming across a young woman being accosted by a trio of sorta bionic fellas. Hex interjex and rescues her from the baddies.
The young lady introduces herself as Stiletta… and after an awkward motorcycle ride (Jonah’s used to horses, duh) the pair arrive at the camp of the Reapers. It looks like something out of Mad Max… which, is almost certainly part of the inspiration.
Before getting his bearings in his new surroundings, Jonah takes part in a… rather strange barbecue. Looks like the Reapers are about to chow down on a gigundus cricket.
While eating, Hex is approached by a fella named Falcon. No sooner does he introduce himself than Stiletta plant a big kiss on Jonah’s face. Seems there might be something personal between these two. Meanwhile, that Borsten guy is being brought up to speed on all things Hex… and we learn that they’ve got someone on the “inside” with the Reapers. Hmm… who’s that guy we just met?
Back with the Reavers, Stiletta is telling Jonah about their next mission. Looks like they have to convince another group to share their water supply… which Jonah doesn’t quite understand. He’s not sure they need to tromp the entire Reaver Army to their neighbors’ doorstep to achieve this. Stiletta disagrees… and so, it’s time for a wasteland rumble.
During the melee, Jonah and Falcon wind up paired off. They hop on a “hog” with a sidecar and soar off into the acid rain of the wasteland… at which point, Falcon… punches Jonah! Gasp? I mean, c’mon… who didn’t see this coming?
Jonah then… beats the holy hell out of Falcon. The acid rain is still pelting down on them, and so, Hex swipes Falcon’s special protective outfit… and abandons him!
We wrap up the issue with Hex being attacked by a helicopter! Holy Freaking Hannah, indeed!
Now, Hex (and western comics) really aren’t my thing… but, taking Jonah out of his element makes for some darn fun reading. This feels like something out of an old Twilight Zone… the grizzled gunfighter waking up in a saloon he doesn’t recognize, only to be attacked by, of all things, a robotic man. Really well done to open.
The Borsten stuff… ehh, I guess we need a puppet-master baddie to facilitate some conflict, but I think I’d have preferred just having Jonah out exploring his new environment. I get why they didn’t go this route though. I think if this were to come out today, they might’ve had Jonah “play” for a bit before introducing the bad guys… then again, today we’d probably get 6-8 issues of Jonah just traipsing through the wastelands talking to himself.
The Reapers are a fun little group to associate Hex with… these folks have only known war and the wasteland for the past little while. Relatively speaking, Hex is a wide-eyed naive innocent. For instance, not understanding why the “tribes” can’t just share water. Gotta say, there is a lot of potential here.
Some great visuals… sure, there’s the Mad Max stuff, which doesn’t come across all that badly. It’s just a very early-80’s idea of the post-apocalypse… lotsa bad mohawks and denim vests. Looks like Texeira is having fun with the concept, and at no time does it really feel like “too much”. Also, loved the Reapers barbecuing a giant cricket!
The internal conflict with Falcon… well, who didn’t see that coming? Especially after learning that Borsten had a “mole” running with the Reapers. Though admittedly, for all I know, Falcon is a red-herring… and his attack on Jonah could just be jealousy over his perceived closeness with Stiletta.
Overall, a pretty fun first issue… though, I gotta say, I don’t know how DC Comics thought this concept would be long-lived. Just seems too far out, at a time where everything was about to be getting pulled into “formation” post-Crisis. A series not long for the world, but one I certainly wouldn’t tell you to avoid. Worth a look! This issue is unfortunately not available digitally… probably because it doesn’t have Batman in it. Shouldn’t cost ya more’n a buck in the wild though!