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Comic Book / Jonah Hex

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"The lord ain't here. Just the devil."

"But as any man, woman or child knows, he had no friends, this Jonah Hex... but he did have two companions... one was death itself, the other, the acrid smell of gunsmoke."

The last of the great American Comic Book Western characters.

Created in the 1970s "Weird" phase in comics, Jonah Hex was created as a deliberate subversion of every Western hero cliche you can think. He then ended up being the last headline character of the genre in the comic book medium. He first appeared in "All-Star Western" vol. 2 #10 (February-March, 1972), created by John Albano and Tony DeZuniga . The title was soon taken over by Michael Fleischer and renamed "Weird Western Tales", with Jonah remaining its star to 1977. He was then moved to his own series, which lasted from 1977 to 1985. When his original series ended, Jonah was thrown into a post-Apocalyptic future à la Mad Max in a title called simply Hex, lasting another two years. Fleischer's run of more than a dozen years is one of DC's longest for a character under a single writer.


Jonah has a rather grim background. Raised with unrelenting abuse from his drunken father, the boy was sold as a slave to a Native American Apache tribe. Years passed and he saved the Apache chief from a puma. He was adopted by the chief as his own son, and the chief's real son grew to resent him. When the boys came of age and undertook their rite of passage, Jonah's adoptive brother left him for dead in the hands of an enemy tribe after deliberately getting him caught. Facing torture, Jonah was saved by white bounty hunters who massacred the tribe for their scalps, and shot him too after he objected to their killing of children.

Somehow he survived, and made his way back to the white man's world. He became a scout for the US Army and eventually joined the Confederate forces in The American Civil War. Hex was appointed an officer as a result of his repeated success in battle. Deciding to resign his commission after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, he inadvertently left clues to his old unit which led to it being found by Union forces. Wrongly accused as a traitor, Hex left on his own, unwanted by either side even while he still wore his gray Confederate officer's uniform.


Eventually, he returned to his old Apache tribe and called his brother out for his treachery. They were made to fight a duel of honor with only tomahawks, but his brother had sabotaged Jonah's weapon and gloated about it with nobody else hearing. Jonah was forced to kill him with a knife, breaking the law, with no way of proving he had been cheated himself. The chief punished him by branding his face with a heated tomahawk, giving him the hideous "Mark of the Demon."

Since then, Jonah makes his living as a bounty hunter, carrying out his hunts with ruthless efficiency, although tempered with a personal code of honor that leads him to defend and avenge the weak and the oppressed in his own brutal way. He's part of the wider DC Universe, though long-dead in the present era (his body was apparently stuffed and mounted and ended up in a traveling circus).

He had a few miniseries in Vertigo Comics with a supernatural bent, went on to a new DCU series that, with The Comics Code having lost any meaningful power, was even Darker and Gorier than before, and eventually came full circle, returning to the pages of All-Star Western in the New 52 as the main character.

The character has appeared in Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Justice League Action episodes. Also, a feature film was released on June 18, 2010 starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox. The results were... less than auspicious, with reviews ranging from mixed to horrible, and a box office that suffered heavily (thanks mostly to competition from Toy Story 3). There is also the animated short, DC Showcase: Jonah Hex, that serves as a bonus feature for Batman: Under the Red Hood; interestingly, it's written by Joe Lansdale, who wrote the Hex-starring Batman TAS episode "Showdown" (and some of the aforementioned Vertigo series). He was made part of the Arrowverse with an appearance in the time-travelling series Legends of Tomorrow.

Hex-related Titles and Series

  • All-Star Western Vol. 2 (1972) note 
  • Weird Western Tales (1972–1977)
  • Jonah Hex Vol. 1 (1977–1985)
  • Hex (1985–1987)
  • Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo (#1–5; 1993)
  • Jonah Hex: Riders of the Worm and Such (#1–5; 1995)
  • Jonah Hex: Shadows West (#1–3; 1999)
  • Jonah Hex (2005) Vol. 2 (2005–2011)
    • Jonah Hex: No Way Back (June 2010)
  • All-Star Western Vol. 3 (2011–2014)

The series contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Woodson Hex is almost in a class of his own when it comes to this.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the new series, Hex gains a Watson of sorts in Dr Amadeus Arkham, a character otherwise known only for founding Arkham Asylum, and murdering his own mentally ill mother.
  • After the End: The setting for Hex is a post-nuclear war Earth.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Woodson Hex again.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: The second series of Jonah Hex gave his wife Mei Ling kung fu skills despite her never displaying any during the original run of the comics.
  • The American Civil War: Jonah fought for the Confederacy in it, and still wears a Confederate uniform.note 
  • Amnesiac Costume Identity: Jonah borrows a clergyman's clothes to spring an ambush on some outlaws. A rockslide kills the outlaws and the preacher and leaves Jonah with amnesia. Seeing his clerical garb, and finding a letter in his pocket appointing the preacher chaplain of a nearby army fort, Jonah assumed he must be the chaplain.
  • Anachronic Order: The Gray/Palmiotti series consists of done-in-one stories and are set whenever the writers fancy in Hex's long life.
  • Arch-Enemy: Quentin Turnbull, who is dead-set on avenging his son's death at the Fort Charlotte Massacre, and restoring the South to its former glory.
  • Armed Legs: In All-Star Western #7-9, Jonah battles an organisation called August 7. One of its most dangerous members is Z.C. Branke; a gladiator who fights with blades mounted on her ankles like a gamecock's spurs.
  • Army of the Ages: Reinhold Borsten did this in the Hex comic book series. This is how Jonah Hex got transported to 2050.
    • One clear example was the group that Jonah Hex once joined (against his will) called Five Warriors From Forever. The team was created by a time-based villain called Lord of Time and consisted of heroes from different historical periods, such as the Viking Prince (who is a viking), Black Pirate (who is, off course, a pirate), Miss Liberty (a vigilante from the American Revolution), and Enemy Ace (a WWI German pilot), and were gifted with various powers that allowed them to beat both the Justice League and the Justice Society.
  • Army Scout: Jonah was an Army scout for a time.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Jonah Hex. His name is two words meaning 'curse'.
  • Back from the Dead: Hex's body was reanimated in the Zombie Apocalypse of the Blackest Night event and tracked down his arch enemy's descendant.
    • This seems to be his thing in the movie, to the point of coughing up a raven and being able to bring others Back from the Dead as well.
  • Badass Longcoat: Jonah sometimes wears a classic duster and sometimes an Army greatcoat.
  • Bad Habits: In one story, Jonah dresses as an army chaplain in order to get the drop on some outlaws. However, he gets buried in a rockslide and loses his memory,causing him to believe he really is the chaplain.
  • Bandito: El Papagayo.
  • Bears Are Bad News: In #50 (original series), Jonah is forced to take shelter in a cave during a blizzard. The cave is already occupied by a grizzly bear which attacks him. With his rifle out of action, he is forced to kill the bear with his knife. The bear manages to mangle his face some more in the process.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: VERY averted with Tallulah Black. She would be very beautiful if she wasn't covered in horrible scars.
  • Been There, Shaped History: #37 reveals that Jonah was responsible for the death of General Stonewall Jackson.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Hildy from Riders of the Worm and Such, a full-figured cowgirl who ends up as one of the few Jonah Hex love interests who doesn't die or turn out to be evil.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Hex is a cynical and immoral Bounty Hunter who cares about little aside from money. The villains tend to be irredeemable.
  • Blood Sport: In All-Star Western #7-9, Jonah gets involved in an underground pit fights in New Orleans where the battles are to the death.
  • Body Horror: Tallulah Black was scarred so badly that even hardened bandits (one of whom raped his own sister) suffered The Loins Sleep Tonight rather than rape her.
    • Hex too for that matter. Not counting his face, he has extensive scarring all over his back. When the police bursts in on him and Tallulah in bed, the reader is treated to a Fan Disservice so bad it borders on Nausea Fuel.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In Hex, Jonah's girlfriend Stiletta was kidnapped and brainwashed into become a bloodthirsty competitor in the Gladiator Games. Jonah is later forced into the arena and Stiletta attempts to kill him.
  • Buddy Cop Show: In All-Star Western Hex forms this sort of partnership with Amadeus Arkham, who is both fascinated and horrified by his lifestyle. Hex himself is none too amused by Arkham's uselessness and nonstop talk.
  • But Now I Must Go:
    • Hex comes across a fair few opportunities to settle down, but refuses each and every one in favor of his lonely bounty hunting lifestyle. In one case, he got as far as building a cabin only to set it on fire by the end of the arc.
    • Averted in All-Star Western. Hex tries to pull this at the end of every arc (he really hates Gotham) and nobody really enjoys his company but for he always gets convinced to stay in Gotham for one more case.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Subverted in the final story with Jonah's father, where instead of "The Reason You Suck" Speech expected by Woodson, Jonah waits for him to be ambushed and shot in the gut before telling him "I came here to watch you die". Woodson alternates between explaining it was Tough Love and self-pity.
  • Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: Jonah is often shown bathing with his trusty bowie knife concealed in the tub.
  • Carnival of Killers: The "6 Gun War" storyline had Quentin Turnbull hiring various killers with different specialties to deal with Jonah Hex and and his companions.
  • Chained to a Railway: Jonah does this to a corrupt Pinkerton Detective (who has just murdered a 13-year-old boy) in #13 of the original series.
  • Cigar Chomper: Jonah smokes stogies, as befits his status as a badass Bounty Hunter.
  • Cigar-Fuse Lighting: A favourite trick of Jonah's.
  • Circus Episode: Jonah joins a travelling circus as a trick shooter in #15 of the original series. In the second, he has run-ins with a Circus of Fear.
  • The City vs. the Country: One of the subplots in the new volume of All-Star Western. Hex is dragged out to Gotham on business and, like all Country Mice, can't stand it. Probably didnt help that Gotham, like nearly every other city at the time, was a Wretched Hive nightmare that makes modern day slums look like the Four Seasons. He has the same reaction to modern-day Gotham during his time travel adventure.
  • Coffin Contraband: In Jonah Hex # 21 (original series), Jonah's pa hides a bag of stolen gold inside a coffin in the local undertaker's. By the time he manages to get back to it, the coffin is placed inside a mine and buried with dynamite: the deceased's last wishes being to entombed in the mine he had devoted his life to working.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Unsurprisingly, Hex has often been drawn to resemble Clint Eastwood.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: In "The Pearl" in Jonah Hex v.1, #64, Jonah and the Girl of the Week are tied up and dropped on a conveyor belt leading into a copper smelter.
  • Corrupt Hick: In Weird Western Tales #17, Jonah clashes with Judge Hatchet; a Hanging Judge who rules her small town with a fist of iron, sending her three sons to poison the cattle and burn the crops of anyone who refuses to knuckle under to her authority.
  • Creepy Child: The peculiar young girl Jonah and Tallulah Black sometimes meet when close to death. She appears to be the ghost/spirit/what have you of the baby girl they have together, who dies in infancy.
  • Crippling the Competition: In Jonah Hex #11 (original series), a gambler caught cheating by Jonah hires thugs to ambush Jonah and breaks his hands with a sledge hammer.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Jonah's various explanations for his facial scars , which range from "cut myself shaving" to "chigger bite" to "my toothpick slipped".
  • Darker and Edgier: While the original series was quite dark and violent for the time, the 2000s series took full advantage of the demise of the Comics Code; the first issue of both series involved a villain who made orphan boys fight dogs. While both of them ended with Jonah killing him, in the original he simply throws him off a cliff, but in the second he douses him with pig's blood and sets his own dogs loose on him.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Jonah's final fate. His body was stuffed, dressed in a "singing cowboy" outfit, and put on display in a wild west show. The ignominy (and the fact that he's used to represent the opposite of who he is) is palpable. Hex actually finds it comforting when he sees it himself - it meant he would someday get back to his own time.
    • In the New 52 he sees his stuffed corpse on display in Metropolis and rather than comfort him it sends him straight into a Heroic BSoD that ends up putting him in a coma after a nasty DUI accident. However, in this continuity, its eventually revealed that the corpse isnt him, it's an imposter that took on Hex's identity during the year he was missing from his own time. Hex ends up killing him when he returns from the present, using the name "George Barrow".
  • Deadly Distant Finale: Michael Fleischer's "The Death of Jonah Hex" from DC Special Series #16, where in 1904, an aged Jonah is shot at a card table as he reaches for his glasses, by a revenge-seeking George Barrow. It was presented with the tone of an Unreliable Narrator, however. Gray and Palmiotti's final issue, All-Star Western #34, revisits this, and shows that during Jonah's sojourn in the future with Booster Gold (where his face got fixed), some two-bit bounty hunter claiming to be him has made himself some enemies in town, and he was the "Jonah Hex" that got himself killed. The series (and Gray and Palmiotti's 100+ issue run) ends with Jonah and Tallulah Black sailing into the sunset in search of peace instead.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jonah has a real caustic wit when he wants to.
  • Depending on the Artist: Tallulah Black's facial scars are pretty consistent, although they vary between detailed scars and mere lines. Her body scars are another matter - she repeatedly describes them as worse than her facial scars, but she's been drawn in different issues with silky-smooth skin, with only two large scars in an X on her lower belly, and with her body covered in scars that look like the ones on her face.
  • Desert Punk: The setting for Hex. In a bizarre turn of events, Hex finds that he had been transported to the 21st century and he becomes somewhat of a post-apocalyptic warrior in a world ravaged by nuclear war. Radiation has rendered much of the available water undrinkable, making water a precious commodity, and giving the setting a very desert-like atmosphere.
  • Determinator: Hex, especially if he's after a bounty, or god help you, if you pissed him off.
  • Discovering Your Own Dead Body: Since his final fate is to have his corpse stuffed and mounted as part of an Old West traveling show, the times when he's traveled to the future often have him run into it, with varying reactions to this discovery.
  • Disguised Hostage Gambit: More than once Jonah has captured an enemy, dressed the bad guy in his trademark jacket and hat, gagged him and bound him to the saddle before sending the horse galloping into the outlaw camp to draw fire.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Tallulah Black is a female version of Jonah Hex.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": In No Way back, Jonah adopts a dog (or, rather, he allows it to follow him around and feeds it occasionally), that he names 'Dag'.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Chako gets told to go away one time too many, leading him to betray Jonah and get shot in return.
  • Do with Him as You Will: Jonah hands an Indian-butchering sheriff over to the tribe he's been preying on, but then subverts it in another issue, where he hands a murderess over to the carnival who hired him, but when he sees them start to enact "carnival justice" which involves beating her to death all night long, he puts a bullet in her head.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: In #10 of the original series, el Papagayo and his men ambush a squad of Mexican soldiers and steal their uniforms to infiltrate the fort at Veracruz and steal the gold stored there.
  • Enemy Mine: In #10 of the original series, el Papagayo forces Jonah to aid him in a plan to steal a store of gold from the Mexican government. When the the soldiers uncover the plot, they assume Jonah is a willing participant and Jonah is forced to fight alongside the outlaws to save his own life.
  • Enemy Civil War: The Court of Owls and the Religion Of Crime ends up in a huge war when their interests in Gotham end up conflicting.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jonah's father won't win any awards for parenting anytime soon, but he joins a manhunt for a pedophile and helps torture him to death.
  • Expy: Jonah of any Clint Eastwood Western Anti-Hero you care to name.
  • Eye Scream: People are constantly being shot, stabbed, and otherwise damaged in and around the eyes. Notably, Tallulah Black - herself missing an eye - gouges out both of Lorna Kyle's eyes with her thumbs.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Among the many scars that Tallulah Black bears is a missing left eye, which she covers with an eyepatch.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In the 52 series, it's shown that Jonah's father was originally a tough but good man who protected several mormon refugees during the period when they were murdered on sight. Cut to a few years later, and the strong patriarch we first saw had degenerated into an abusive drunk.
  • Facial Horror: Jonah has the right side of his face scarred. Depending on the Artist, he can just be the bulging eye, permanent sneer, and the mouth tendon, some will remember that he got these from being burned and adding burn scars, and others will make him look like a mirror-flipped version of Two-Face in a cowboy hat.
  • Fake in the Hole: In #23 (original series), Jonah distracts an outlaw who has the drop on him by lighting a stick of dynamite and tossing it at his feet. While the outlaw is panicking, Jonah draws his pistol and shoots him. When the understandably terror-stricken barkeep points out the fuse is still lit, Jonah picks it up, explains that it is just an empty case with a fuse stuck in it, and tosses it to the barkeep as a souvenir.
  • Fakin' MacGuffin: In #9 and #10 of the original series, Bandito el Papagayo forces Jonah to aid him in a raid on a Mexican fortress in Veracruz to steal a store of gold bars. After a series of double-crosses that have left almost everyone except Jonah dead, Jonah is caught outside with the gold during a storm. The rain washes the gold paint off the bars, revealing them to be worthless. It turns out the Mexican government had secretly removed the gold from the fortress several days before the raid, leaving behind the fake gold as a distraction.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom:
    • In Jonah Hex #68 (original series), Jonah stops a rowdy who was busting up a saloon by shooting out out the chain holding up the chandelier so it fall on him. Said chandelier was made out of a wagon wheel. Ouch!
    • In Hex #10, Jonah shoots down a chandelier in a theatre so it falls on top of a cult worshiping a serial killer.
  • Fastest Gun in the West: Jonah has this reputation, though (in some issues) his own view is similar to Will Munny of Unforgiven - it's not the fastest gun who wins, it's the man who can draw the fastest AND still remain accurate (which with Wild West revolvers is easier said than done) albeit in most cases, this is still him, of course.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Jonah becomes this after being tossed through time to present-day Gotham City in the New 52 All-Star Western. He also spends some time in Metropolis.
  • The Fundamentalist: Tallulah's unborn child is beaten out of her by a religious fundamentalist who thinks children born out of wedlock are a sin, then claims she's doing the Lord's work.
  • Gatling Good: Early Gatling guns occasionally appear, in Jonah's hands or villains'.
  • Gladiator Games: In Hex, gladiator-style pit fights are a popular entertainment in the post-apocalyptic future. In one story arc, Hex's girlfriend Stiletta is kidnapped brainwashed into becoming an arena fighter called the Blonde Spitfire.
    • In the New 52 series, Hex becomes involved in a racist supremacy group called the August 7 that holds gladiator fights in New Orleans, pitting strong immigrant fighters to be killed off by their champions.
  • God Is Evil: Jonah expresses this view on several occasions, believing that the kind, just God of Christianity is just a comforting delusion for those who don't know God's cruelty as well as he does.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: Happens to Jonah in issue 9 of the original series. Jonah is forced to chase the thief, and the theft turns out to a plot to lure him across the border into Mexico.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He's a decent enough guy when put to the moral test, but his scarring leads to a lot of assumptions from others.
  • Guns Akimbo: Jonah's trademark weapons are his twin massive Colt Dragoons.
  • The Gunslinger: Jonah is the preeminent example in the DCU.
  • Hand Cannon: Jonah's choice of handgun is the .44 Colt Dragoon, the most powerful handgun available in The Wild West. During his time the future, he swaps the Dragoons for single-action Ruger Blackhawks in .357 magnum.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Jonah does it while fighting mountain scum in Hex #4. (Given Jonah's penchant for fighting dirty, it would be surprising if this was the only time this trick was used in the various series.)
  • Handy Cuffs: In Weird Western Tales #22, an escaping prisoner strangles a deputy with the manacles shackled around his wrists.
  • Handy Feet: In "Sawdust and Slow Death" in Jonah Hex #15 (original series), Jonah joins a circus and becomes the unwilling target of an armless knife-thrower who throws knives with his feet (possibly inspired by the silent movie The Unknown).
  • Hanging Judge:
    • In Weird Western Tales #17, Jonah clashes with Judge Hatchet; a female judge nicknamed 'The Hangin' Woman' for her harsh sentences. She is a Corrupt Hick who rules her small town with a fist of iron, sending her three sons to poison the cattle and burn the crops of anyone who refuses to knuckle under to her authority.
    • Jonah confronts one in the story "The Hangman" in Weird Western Tales #35. Marshal Sam Lehman is a Corrupt Hick who is both the town marshal and judge. He makes almost every offence a hanging offence (such as hanging a saloon girl for filching ten dollars from a drunken cowhand) as the frequent public hangings attract business to the town.
  • The Hashshashin: Jonah fights a Hashshashin brought to The Wild West as part of a Carnival of Killers during the "Six Gun War" storyline.
  • Hellhole Prison: The Union POW camp of Fort Charlotte, during the American Civil War.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Some of the inhabitants of Casket Canyon seem to have grown very fond of human flesh. See No Party Like a Donner Party below.
  • Imminent Danger Clue: In #53 (original series), Jonah is tracking a pair of kidnappers. He finds the shack they used as a hideout, and the boy they abducted inside, but no sign of the outlaws. As he is looking around, he glances in the still burning stove and sees wrappers from dynamite in the flames. Realising what is happening, Jonah grabs the boy and dive out through a window mere moments before the shack blows up.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Jonah himself.
  • In the Back: The final fate of J.D. Hart and ultimately Jonah himself.
  • Indian Maiden: Little Bird, Jonah's companion during his twilight years, shows many signs of being this trope. She is young, conventionally beautiful, and supremely unflappable.
  • Indy Ploy: Jonah Hex is a master of coming up with plans on the fly. Given he frequently doesn't know where his enemies are, or their numbers, or sometimes even who they are, this is kind of a necessity. His philosophy is perhaps best summed up by a pair of quotes from Hex #12:
    (Hex has just encountered a Giant Robot that is Immune to Bullets)
    Hex: *thinks* Looks like a good time to switch to Plan B! (runs away) Shore do wish I had me a Plan B!
    (several panels later)
    Hex: *thinks* Wait! I think I just found me a Plan B!
  • Instant Death Bullet: Most of the time.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: In issue #39 of the original series.
  • It Runs in the Family: Hex's descendants who pop up in the modern DC Universe all take after him some way, mainly in the form of being skilled Gunslingers.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In his early days his stories always seemed to end with him committing some act of kindness out of the good of his heart, but they were always done in a way that didn't break his "mean and nasty" facade.
  • Joker Jury: Jonah is subjected to one in Weird Western Tales #30. Quentin Turnbull captures him and puts him on 'trial' for "treason and other high crimes against the Confederate States of America". The 'jury' consists of "your former comrades in arms, some of them survivors of the very massacre you perpetrated".
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Railroad Bill
  • Kavorka Man: Jonah is uncouth and gruesomely disfigured, but has maintained relationships with some incredibly gorgeous women: White Fawn, Mei Ling, Emmylou Hartley, Adrian Sterling, Stiletta, Gina Gold, Tall Bird, etc.
  • Killer Outfit: In Weird Western Tales #17, Jonah shoves a Corrupt Hick Hanging Judge off a cliff. However, rather than falling to her death, she suffers a Karmic Death when her scarf snags on a tree sticking out of the cliff and snaps her neck.
  • Knife Fight: Jonah and el Papagayo have a brutal knife fight to the death in the graphic novel No Way Back. Hex eventually wins by means of Lodged-Blade Recycling.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: In "Sawdust and Slow Death" in Jonah Hex #15 (original series), Jonah joins a circus and becomes the unwilling target of an armless knife-thrower (possibly inspired by the silent movie The Unknown).
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: In Hex, the Batman of the future had is secret base inside the Statue of Liberty.
  • Laser-Guided Karma/What an Idiot!: During his DC Showcase episode, a local prostitute tries to have Jonah killed and robbed a total of three times: she tries to shoot him at point-blank range, her henchmen try and fail to kill him and she later tries to stab him in the mineshaft she leaves her victims in. When Jonah finally gets tired of this and leaves her alone in the darkened mineshaft filled with corpses, it finally occurs to her that this may have all been a really bad idea.
  • Last Breath Bullet: In #10 of the original series, Bandito chief el Papagayo is about to shoot Jonah having just disposed of most of his men when his mistress Estrillita throws a knife into his back. As Estrillita flings herself into Jonah's arms, a shot rings out from the ground as el Papagayo's last breath bullet hits her in the back and she slumps dead in Jonah's arms.
  • Libation for the Dead: Jonah pours one for his father Woodson after watching him die in Jonah Hex #69. Well, either that or he pisses on the grave, it's left intentionally ambiguous.
  • Line-of-Sight Alias: In All-Star Western #34, Jonah needs an alias when signing a hotel register. He sees a sack of George Brand Flour being wheeled past in a wheelbarrow, and signs the book 'George Barrow'.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: #50 (original series), Emmylou Hartley falls off a cliff during a snowstorm. She manages to grab hold of a small jutting out a few feet down the cliff, leading to Take My Hand! moment from Jonah.
  • The Load: Amadeus Arkham is this to Jonah Hex during their days working together in Gotham. Arkham is completely useless in a fight, and never really improves during their time together. His only useful skills are his medical skills and knowledge about Gotham, neither of which have any use until after the fighting. On top of that, he isnt in the best physical shape and cant run or climb very well, needing Hex to save him almost constantly.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: In the graphic novel Jonah Hex: No Way Back, Jonah stabs el Papagayo with the same knife Papagayo just stabbed him with: while its still stuck through his arm!
  • Mad Doctor: Sawbones tortures and mutilates in his search for medical knowledge.
  • Made a Slave: Jonah's father sold him into slavery with an Apache tribe at the age of 13, in 1851.
  • Made of Iron: Hex routinely recovers after having been shot, beaten, and left for dead. Inevitably, it's the other guys who all actually wind up dead.
  • Mark of Shame: His trademark disfigurement was punishment for using a weapon other than a tomahawk in a sacred battle, even though his opponent Noh-Tante cheated by sabotaging Hex's and forced him to resort to a knife to defend himself.
  • Master of Disguise: The Chameleon.
  • Memetic Badass: Jonah, In-Universe. "Tall Tales" has kids discussing his fabled feats like killing ten men with one ricocheting bullet, then get to meet him. He certainly lives up to their expectations.
  • Moe Greene Special: Tallulah Black lost her eye when the men who killed her family and raped her shot her in the left eye and left her for dead.
  • Molotov Cocktail: In "Weird Western Tales'' #31, the McCandless gang try to burn Jonah and the sheriff out of the sheriff's house with a barrage of kerosene bombs. Jonah and sheriff turn the tables of them, first of all by shooting the bottles while the gang members are holding them, and them flinging some of the remaining bombs at other gang members and shooting them while they are in the air.
  • Monowheel Mayhem: In Hex, Reinhold Borsten's forces had armored monowheels; sort of like miniature, one-man War Wheels.
  • Murder by Mistake: In one issue, a killer tries to shoot Jonah through a curtained saloon window. He instead shoots the Soiled Dove who is prancing about the room in Jonah's hat
  • My Horse Is a Motorbike: Jonah swaps his horse for a motorcycle in Hex. Ads for the new series even showed Jonah on a motorcycle with the tagline "This is Jonah Hex's new horse".
  • The Native Rival: Jonah's saving of the Apache chief he was sold into slavery to earned him this trope with the chief's son Noh-Tante.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: The story "Casket Canyon" from Jonah Hex v2 #66, has Hex arriving to a snowbound village which has been partaking in cannibalism after a disease killed their livestock.
  • Odd Couple: Many stories contrast Jonah with the significantly friendlier Bat Lash. The New 52 All-Star Western pairs Jonah with prissy Eastern criminal psychologist Dr. Amadeus Arkham. They Fight Crime!.
  • Odd Friendship: Jonah ends up becoming friends with Elizabeth Arkham to the point that he actually says goodbye to her when leaving Gotham for good.
  • Outlaw Town: Outlaw Springs in "Christmas in an Outlaw Town".
  • Pay Evil unto Evil:
    • Some stories have Jonah as a borderline Villain Protagonist, where this trope ends up being invoked.
    • Woodson takes part in the torture and mutilation of a pedophile child murderer.
  • Pinkerton Detective: Pinkertons often appear (usually as antagonists) throughout the series.
  • Pirate Parrot: Bandito parrot in this case. El Papagayo takes his name from his pet parrot.
  • Politically Correct History: Averted. Hex and other characters often have the sort of attitudes you'd expect from the 19th century. Hex himself is a subversion — "progressive" enough to marry a Chinese woman, and treating all races, colors, and creeds equally... but only because he hates all races, colors, and creeds equally.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: U.S. Marshal J.D. Hart features prominently in issues 42-44 of the original series, essentially acting as a co-star to Jonah in those issues. Hart was going to spun off into his own book, unofficially titled Dakota, but that book never eventuated and Hart eventually returned as a supporting character in Jonah Hex.
  • P.O.W. Camp: The events of Fort Charlotte will haunt Jonah throughout his life.
  • Powder Trail: Pulled off in issue #78 of the original series, where Jonah ignites the powder trail with a rifle shot.
  • Practical Currency: In Hex, the standard currency are Soames: pills used to decontaminate radioactive water.
  • Prison Episode: In an arc starting in #76 of the original series, Jonah his hired by the governor to undercover in the state penitentiary to root out corruption. As part of his cover, he is convicted of bank robbery. However, the whole thing is a scheme orchestrated by Hex's Archenemy Quentin Turnbull, who intends to leave Hex to rot in prison. After the governor, the who only man who could verify Hex's claims, dies Hex is forced to break out of prison in order to clear his name.
  • Quick Draw: How fast is he? He was once able to shoot Batman before he could throw his batarang, when Batman is used to throwing his batarang before a gunman can fire.
  • Race Lift: The story of Jonah's surrender to Union forces at Fort Charlotte is told in Weird Western Tales #29 (1975) and in Jonah Hex #35 (1980). Between the two tellings, the orderly who notices the unique red clay on Jonah's boots that leads the Union to his hidden unit changes from a black man who gets chewed out by his racist commanding officer to a white man. The new series splits the orderly into two characters, one white and one black.
  • Raised by Wolves: In "The Hoax" in Weird Western Tales #18, Jonah gets mixed up with a pair of conmen who are attempting to pass off one of them as the lost heir to a fortune who has been raised by coyotes.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: In the Hex series, Jonah was transported to the 21st century and became somewhat of a post-apocalyptic warrior, reminiscent of Mad Max.
  • Recycled Plot: The first story of the first and second series has Jonah sent to look for a rich man's son, who's been kidnapped and forced into pit fights by carnies (against other kids in the first, dogs in the second). In both cases, the kid dies and Jonah returns the corpse to the family, having ensured the Karmic Death of the kidnappers (forcing them to fight on a clifftop/eaten alive by pit dogs).
  • Red Herring: The whole plot arc about Jonah and Gina looking for the House of Mystery to find a way back in time turns out to be one of these, as it ends up derailed when Jonah sees his own preserved corpse in a wild west exhibition in Metropolis, has a nervous breakdown and ends up in a DUI accident that puts him in a coma for a month, which also results in the doctors reconstructing his face. Instead, he gets back the same way he got to the future in the first place; Booster Gold.
  • The Remnant: The Fort Charlotte Brigade, Confederate soldiers sworn to bring the Confederacy back (and incidentally to kill Jonah Hex, whom they mistakenly believe sold them out and led them to be massacred when they tried to break out of Fort Charlotte).
  • The Reveal: At the end of the New 52 series, we find out that the infamous preserved corpse of Jonah Hex is not him, its an imposter who usurped his identity during the year the real Jonah was lost in time.
  • Retired Gunfighter: Jonah in the Deadly Distant Finale.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: After Jonah Hex is transported to the future in Hex, he acquires a pair of Ruger Blackhawk .357 Magnums. He chooses these because they are single action revolvers like he was used to in The Wild West, but he still manages to outshoot everybody armed with more more modern weaponry.
  • The Savage Indian: While Jonah Hex does generally portray Indians in a sympathetic light, it also doesn't shy away from just how savage they could be if you got on their bad side, in particular their penchant for torture. In Two Gun Mojo, Jonah cripples an especially nasty villain and leaves him for the approaching Apaches to find, knowing that they'll give him a long slow death.
  • Self-Offense: In The American Civil War, Jonah was leading the patrol of Confederate troops who shot and killed Stonewall Jackson.
  • Seppuku: In "Vow of the Samurai" in #39 (original series), a samurai commits harakiri after he discovers that his daughter has had a child with an outlaw. He forces Jonah to fulfill an oath he made earlier by acting as kaishakunin (his second) and cutting his head off.
  • Sex Slave: Emmylou Hartley ended up as this when Indians attacked her family's wagon train. The only survivors of the massacre were herself, her older sister and her cousin. Her sister shot herself with her husband's rifle rather than surrender, while her cousin was tortured to death when she refused a forced marriage with an Indian. With her cousin's fate in mind, Emmylou submitted, escaping her captors four years later and encountering Jonah Hex, who saved her from her pursuers.
  • Shooting Gallery: Jonah runs through a shooting gallery where the dummies are firing back with live ammunition in Hex #8.
  • Shoot the Rope: Jonah does this to save his friend Redeye Charlie from being hanged in "The Hangman" in Weird Western Tales #35.
  • Shout-Out: In the final issue of the pre- New 52 series, Bat Lash rides off stating that he is on his way to Basin City.
    • After his face is reconstructed during his time in the 21st century, Jonah is clearly modeled after Clint Eastwood.
  • Single-Episode Handicap: In one issue of the original series, Jonah was left temporarily paralyzed from the waist by an accident. Leads to a memorable scene where he has to take on a gang of outlaws during a storm while being unable to walk, and with his guns useless because they had become clogged with mud.
  • Skinny Dipping: Tallulah goes skinny dipping (complete with convenient Scenery Censor) in All Star Western #34.
  • Sleeping Dummy: A favourite trick of Jonah's.
  • Starter Villain: Big Jim, an outlaw terrorizing a town's residents away so he can sell their land, and is killed by throwing knife by issue's end.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: Jonah still wears his Confederate Army uniform. One story believes this is done on purpose, so as to get people to stay away.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Jonah is one of these, to a certain extent.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Jason Hex, as an adult, is shown to resemble his father Jonah greatly (or, rather, Jonah before his face was disfigured) despite being half-"Celestial" (i.e., Chinese) on his mother's side.
  • Suicide by Cop: Or Suicide By Bounty Hunter in this case. Done by the Just Like Robin Hood outlaw Railroad Bill who works the lever-action on his empty rifle and points it Jonah as Jonah orders him to drop it, forcing Jonah to shoot him.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Jonah's girlfriend Gina from modern day insists on coming with him when Booster Gold sends him back to his own time. In her defense, she puts up a good effort, but simply doesnt have the endurance needed and soon dies from heat stroke, exhaustion and a gun injury in her leg.
  • Take My Hand!: In #50 (original series), Emmylou Hartley slips off a cliff during a snowstorm. Jonah is able to grab her by one hand, and manages to get her to grab his other hand as she starts to slip before pulling her up.
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine: This gem from Jonah Hex #53 (original series) (and at no point during this monologue does Jonah stop drinking):
    "Ugghh! Thet rotgut shore do taste nasty! Smells nasty! Tastes nasty! Got an aroma just like kerosene! A man'd have tuh be near halfway crazy tuh drink this stuff!"
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Jonah really doesn't like Bat Lash, a frequent teammate, to the point when saving a drowning man and finding it to be Lash, he threw him back in the river. However, this is mostly one-sided - Lash often finds Hex annoying, but regards himself as in Hex's debt due to the number of times he's saved Lash's life. And the happy-go-lucky Lash honestly tries to get along with everyone.
    • He also hates working with Dr. Arkham since the guy is basically The Load. He only tolerates the man because Arkham knows more about Gotham than he does.
  • Temporary Blindness: Happens to Jonah in Weird Western Tales #24. Needless to say a gang of outlaws comes gunning for him while he is afflicted.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: One story has a montage of Jonah taking out a long list of criminals. One of them ends up opening the outhouse door to find a cannon pointing at him.
  • Time for Plan B: In an issue of Hex, Jonah comes out with "Looks like a good time for Plan B. Sure do wish I had me a Plan B." Followed a few pages later by "Looks like I just found me a Plan B".
  • Time Travel: As mentioned elsewhere, Jonah has traveled in time in various stories. It's also been used for several cross-overs outside of comic book media, such as his involvement in a time-travel story in the Justice League cartoon, or his connection to time-traveler Rip Hunter in 2016's Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Tome Is Where The Heat Is: In #14 of the original series, Jonah confronts a former gunslinger turned preacher who is killing bounty hunters. The preacher keeps a derringer hidden in his Bible.
  • Train Job: Too many to count.
  • Trapped Undercover: One story arc sees Jonah commit a bank robbery at the behest of the governor and be sent to state prison with the intent of investigating corruption inside the prison. However, the governor is subsequently killed, leaving no one to verify Jonah's story and forcing him to break out in order to clear his name.
  • Two-Headed Coin: In one comic, a Frenchman uses this to win a coin toss against Jonah, choosing to stay behind and make the Heroic Sacrifice holding off the Indians while Jonah gets the woman they were escorting to safety.
  • Two-Faced: Jonah's iconic scars, which hideously mutilate his right cheek, though exactly how badly it does so varies depending on the artist. Exposed teeth and a blind, milky eye are common.
  • Underside Ride:
    • In Hex #1, Jonah escaped from Borsten's Needle by clinging the bottom of a vehicle transporting nuclear waste.
    • Jonah clings to the underside of a wagon to get inside a Union fort in All-Star Western #0.
  • U.S. Marshal: J.D. Hart
  • Vapor Trail: Jonah pulls one in Hex #18, lighting the fuel with his trusty cigarillo. The Mooks' last words are "That's a fuel hose, right?"
  • Villainous Lineage: One of the members of The Religion Of Crime is an ancestor of Catwoman. Fittingly, she has the title of "Lord of Theft".
  • Weird West: Despite debuting in Weird Western Tales, most Jonah Hex tales aren't actually Weird West stories. The three Vertigo mini-series were a full-on example of this though, as they included things like functioning Voodoo, humanoid tentacle monsters from time before man, and Native American bear spirits. That said, because they are part of The DCU, there's always a certain amount of Weird West potential in any story, and Jonah's time travelled at least twice, including spending a few years living in a post-apocalyptic future.
  • Whip It Good: Stiletta from Hex was an expert with a whip.
  • The Wild West
    • Although, interestingly, not in the movie. It's apparently set in the Wild South, unless Jonah's horse is extraordinarily fast- he travels from the Old-West-style town he's in to the villain's lair in about a day. The villain's lair is an old confederate fort, on the Atlantic coast.
  • Working on the Chain Gang: Jonah ends up working on a chain gang breaking rocks when he is sent undercover into the state penitentiary.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: In the DC Showcase, Madam Lorraine states this despite the fact she'd just shot at him twice and had tried to have him murdered. Understandably, she's proven wrong.
    • His adherence to this is what gets Marshal J.D. Hart killed in the original series when he refuses to draw against a female gunslinger who challenges him. When she tracks Jonah down at the end of the issue, he guns her down without a qualm.
  • Wretched Hive: Jonah Hex's opinion of Gotham City. When Catherine expresses shock at the idea of a lost tribe of vicious natives and giant bats underneath Gotham, Hex replies that the streets are worse.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In #10 of the original series, el Papagayo has his men transport the stolen gold across a rickety rope bridge. When they have carried the majority of of it across, he cuts the bridge down while they are on it so he will not have to share the gold.