Jonah Woodson Hex

Jonah HexOk, there was still another character having a cameo in The Flash episode Welcome to Earth-2. When the team is traveling from a universe to another, there are many glimpses of future and past: we see the original Flash from the 1990s tv series, Supergirl (hinting at the future crossover between the two shows), a Legion Ring (more heroes coming…), a future Green Arrow (appearing on Legends of Tomorrow)…and an ugly and menacing gunslinger, Jonah Hex, portrayed by Jonathon Schaech. Hex will appear in Legends‘ eleventh episode, The Magnificent Eight, but this is the first live action appearance of the character…in tv, at least, since the legendary bounty hunter already appeared in his own movie, Jonah Hex, portrayed by Josh Brolin. The film wasn’t exactly a memorable one, with the vengeful Hex hunting down his nemesis Quentin Turnbull for half the country, and ending up saving President Ulysses Grant and the entire United States. The tv version maybe (hopefully) will be badder…but we’ll have to wait and see. In the meanwhile, let’s take a look at the original one.

Jonah Hex was born in the middle of the XIX Century, the son of Woodson and Virginia Hex. Woodson was an alcoholic, and he physically abused his son from the very day he was born; eventually, when he ran out of money, Woodson arrived to the point of selling his son as a slave to an Apache tribe, when the boy was only 13 years old. The Apaches made Jonah work hard for years, treating him little better than the beasts they owned, until a fateful day when Hex, now a young man, was the only one present when the chieftain was attacked by a puma. Instead of letting his captor die, Jonah saved him from the animal, and in return, grateful, the chieftain adopted him, making him a part of the tribe. The chief, however, had a son already, Noh-Tante, who grew jealous of his adopted brother: when Jonah became interested in White Fawn, the same girl Noh-Tante liked, the Apache boy decided to get rid of the rival. During their rite of passage to manhood, when they were 16, Noh-Tante betrayed Jonah Hex, and sold him jonahhexcomics1to the Apaches’ rivals, the Kiowas. Jonah was left for dead, but the same Kiowa tribe that was supposed to kill him was attacked by the Cavalry, and the white boy was “saved”. When the patrol started massacring the Kiowas, however, Hex tried to stop his saviors, and he got shot as well, and left for dead in the woods once again. The boy was tougher than he looked, and he survived; an old man, a trapper, found him, and nursed him back to health. When he could walk again, Jonah tried to reach his tribe, but the Apaches had long abandoned their last camp. Alone and lost, Jonah Hex wandered for a while, until he rejoined the Western civilization; he became close friends with a boy his age, Jeb Turnbull, and when the Civil War started, he followed him in the Confederate States Army. In the Cavalry, the skills learnt with the Apaches made it easy for Hex to distinguish himself, and he soon rose in ranks, becoming a lieutenant; since he had been a slave, however, it was difficult for him not to believe in the Abolitionists’ cause. One night, following his conscience, Hex surrendered himself the Union Army, abandoning his comrades in arms. The Union wasn’t satisfied with an officer, though: they wanted all the unit.

A man of honor, Jonah Hex refused to give his captors the location of his men, but the enemies were able to locate them nevertheless, deducing the position of the camp from the mud on the officer’s boots. The entire unit was captured, and the Union General ordered a massacre of the prisoners, letting only a few survive; he then made them believe Hex had betrayed them and revealed their location. From that moment, Jonah Hex was branded a traitor and a turncoat in the South, and he became an outlaw for the rest of his life. When the war ended, there was not much Hex could do, and he eventually managed to return to the Apaches; he found out that Noh-Tante had married White Fawn and, enraged, he exposed his betrayal to the entire tribe. The chieftain refused to believe Hex, and ordered his sons to solve things in a trial by combat; Noh-Tante, however, cheated, and gave his rival an edgeless tomahawk. During the duel, in ordered not to be killed, Hex used his knife to kill Noh-Tante, and he appeared as jonahhexcomics2the one who cheated in front of the entire tribe: enraged, the chieftain had him suffer the Mark of the Demon, a burning that disfigured him permanently, and exiled him. Despite the exile, Hex came back to the village some time later, when a man named Henri d’Aubergnon asked for his help to rescue a kidnapped white woman: captured by his ex-fellow tribesmen, Hex was about to be executed, but White Fawn tried to save him. When he found out what the woman was doing, the chieftain killed White Fawn, only to be killed in turn by a vengeful Hex. With the help of d’Aubergnon, Jonah gunned down most of the tribe he had grown up with, severing once and for all his bonds with his past. With nothing to live nor to die for, Jonah Hex became a drunkard, and travelled from saloon to saloon, until the day he saw a man beating his wife: in his alcohol-induced allucinated state, Jonah believed him to be his father beating his mother, and he gunned the man down. The man was actually Lucas “Mad Dog” McGill, a renowned criminal, and the local sheriff, impressed by Jonah’s quickness, paid him the remarkable amount of McGill’s bounty. The duel, the kill and the payment arrived to Hex as an epiphany: from that day, he became a bounty hunter, and in a few years, he was already one of the most feared men in the Old West.

Jonah Hex is a brutal man for a brutal world: he has known the worst of two cultures, he’s taken the little good they could give him, and he’s now bent on using all his skills to make the world a little better, by killing off the few worse than him. His reputation of the most lethal man in the West is actually well-founded: he’s simply unbeatable with a gun, gifted with an infallible aim and a quickness second to no one’s; he’s also an excellent fighter with his knife, and he has even killed a bear with nothing but his blade; he can tame any horse and he’s a superb rider (during a time-travel, he even became a great car-driver), and he was renowned as the best hunter and tracker in his Apache tribe. Careful to make people believe he only cares about money, Jonah Hex actually follows a strict code of honor, and has also a “soft”, altruistic side…but that doesn’t make him any less dangerous, and all criminals know that only death awaits them if they cross paths with the disfigured bounty hunter from Hell.

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2 Comments

  1. […] new character apart from Jonah Hex this week on Legends of Tomorrow, but apparently I missed quite a major one…and since the […]

  2. […] in the film he’s a general from the Confederate States Army arrested by his subordinate, Jonah Hex, for killing civilians indiscriminately; in revenge, Turnbull kills Hex’s wife and son and […]


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