This time around, we’re stepping out of our modern times. We’re heading back to a rough and tumblin’ period in the 19th Century famously known as the Old West. Before the DC Universe as we know it came around chronologically, there was the mythical man known as…
Originally released on July 27, 2010, this short story came packaged with the film “Batman: Under The Red Hood”. As usual, if you want to know what I thought of that flick, click the link to check out my review. For now, let’s mount up and ride on into this particular tale.
We open at night on a quiet town as an outlaw named Red Doc (voiced by Merle Dixon & Yondu himself, Michael Rooker) makes his way into a saloon. All of the patrons look at him with intimidation as he heads towards the bar for a drink. Just then, a woman named Madame Lorraine (voiced by the original Sarah Connor herself, Linda Hamilton) invites him upstairs. After reaching the bedroom, Red Doc gets comfy as he awaits his “good time”. However, Madame Lorraine pulls out a hand gun from her stocking and kills him. After taking his money, she then has her two cronies dispose of the newly-deceased body.
We then cut to the next day where another figure rides into town. It turns out to be the disfigured bounty hunter himself, Jonah Hex (voiced by the ’04 Punisher himself, Thomas Jane) who’s looking to collect a $5,000 reward. He asks the Bar Tender (voiced by Jason Marsden) if he’s seen Red Doc, but gets told that he hasn’t.
Shortly afterwards, a Bar Girl (voiced by Nona F. Mecklenberg & Dawn Summers herself, Michelle Trachtenberg) approaches and offers him some necessary information in exchange for the money she needs to leave town. After Hex complies, she tells him about Madame Lorraine’s devilish scheme of killing men for money. Upon helping the young lass, he starts to lure the fiendish lady out by buying a round of drinks for the patrons.
While Hex tries to interrogate Madame Lorraine on the whereabouts of Red Doc’s body, her cronies take their usual spot. The wicked lady whips out her gun and tries to fire, but Jonah throws out his hat. This hits her hand hard enough to deflect her shot so that he can get in and disarm her.
After subduing Madame Lorraine with a punch to the face, her cronies come out of their hiding spot. Hex easily guns down the first goon, but the more muscular felon gives him a more hard-fought tussle. After fending off an attack, Jonah knocks Henchman #2 into the nearby stove. This causes the goon to get badly singed by the heated exterior as Hex finishes him off with a boot to the head and then tossing him off the balcony.
Shortly afterwards, the bar tender strikes back with a shotgun. Fortunately, Jonah easily fends off the attack and shoots him down.
He then heads back into the bedroom. With the fiendish woman at his mercy, Hex demands to know where Red Doc’s body is. From there, we cut to Jonah and Lorraine heading out to where she hid the corpse which turns out to be an abandoned mine.
Upon reaching a deep hole in the floor, Hex uses a rope to send the mischievous madame down first before using an additional strand to climb down himself. Lighting up a lantern, he discovers Red Doc’s corpse among the many men that she killed as well. Discovering a knife in one of the bodies, Lorraine tries to attack. However, Jonah dodges in time and knocks her out cold. With his bounty assured, Hex climbs out of the pit. After pulling up the corpse, Madame Lorraine wakes up and begs to be his partner. However, Jonah drops the rope into the pit, leaving her trapped, and tells her that he won’t alert the authorities to her location. Lorraine begs to not be left alone, but Hex assures her that she’s “got plenty of company” before he takes off. And so, the film ends with her surrounded by her rotting victims as the lantern’s light grows dim.
As far as the story goes, it’s simple enough to follow. A bounty hunting job that picked up an unexpected turn feels new enough for a Western. Sometimes, simplicity is the name of the game. In that vain, it manages to tell its tale within its allotted time frame. Not really anything to complain about here.
As far as the hero-villain relationship goes, we’ll start off with Madame Lorraine. Here, she scopes out the saloon (maybe she owns it as well, it’s not clear) for men (preferably with a reasonable amount of cash), lures them upstairs with her feminine charm, and then kills them before relieving them of their money. Because her main method of murdering her male victims seems to be by shooting them, one wonders how much breathing room her operations are able to function. Is the entire saloon crown besides the Bar Girl aware of what she does and are just apathetic towards it, or does it extend towards the sheriff’s office since we never see them here? Either way, she’s able to keep her vicious intents alive until Jonah Hex arrives. Linda Hamilton does a fairly good job in the role, delivering a sultry voice that hides her true intentions.
On the positive side of the coin, we now get to Jonah Hex himself. He’s a grizzled man whose original assignment takes an unexpected detour, but his skills and useful handiness on the draw helps him out to the end. Because of his line of work, he’s trained into expecting the unexpected as Madame Lorraine brushed off his attempt to ask on the whereabouts of the man she axed off. As far as voicing this gritty character, Thomas Jane is able to make this work. His low-tone delivery compliments his physical presence as it lends well to his personal legend.
As far as action goes, it’s mainly limited to when Jonah Hex arrives and evades Madame Lorraine’s attempt to kill him. His biggest opponent is a big goon with an axe who bursts out of the closest to challenge our bounty hunter. Nothing very spectacular, but it gets the job done.
Overall, this is an enjoyable time. The action is brief yet enjoyable, the animation is fluent & good and Jonah Hex does enough to show off why he’s a strong enough force in the Old West. While not really standing out, his opposition pose a fairly good threat. If you ever get the chance, check this out for a gun-slingin’ good time.
Next Time: A simple airport run turns into an epic shootout as a royal figure is caught in the cross hairs. It’s all-out archery as we dig into “Green Arrow”.
Jonah Hex (created by John Albano and Tony DeZuniga) is owned by DC Comics.