If you want to see a more unusual antihero in comics, just look at Jonah Hex. He’s the gunslinging bounty hunter who looks like he comes right out of a Western/horror movie. Oh, and just in case anyone forgot, he also got his own movie back in 2010. I’m pretty sure most people would like to forget about that movie. I can’t blame them, but I must say, it had a killer cast. Well, aside from Megan Fox that is. You can enjoy looking at her all you want, but her acting skills need some serious work. Yeah, that’s old news by now, but her presence really didn’t help the Jonah Hex movie. Thankfully, she wasn’t in the movie that much, but even that didn’t matter.
However, I do think Jonah Hex is a very awesome character and even with a bad script, Josh Brolin managed to deliver a solid performance. We can usually count on Josh Brolin to pull off a super badass character, so I had no problem with him being Jonah Hex. Plus, he had the likes of John Malkovich and Michael Fassbender acting alongside him, but sadly, even they couldn’t save that movie.
Despite the failure of that movie, I believe Jonah Hex deserves another chance to have his own solo movie. Think of it as a do-over. The best way to look at it is this: if we get another Jonah Hex movie that’s actually good, then we can forget all about the 2010 movie. For now, let’s use it as a reminder as to why he should get another shot at Hollywood stardom.
Just take a look at the guy. What makes him a cool character is that he looks like a villain, but acts like a hero. Of course, he’s not as noble as Superman or Batman, but he lives by a strict moral code. If you watched that 2010 movie, you’ll know that he’s a bounty hunter. However, he’s not just motivated by money. Yes, he does kill, but he’ll only kill those who deserve it. Sounds like your typical antihero, except with Jonah Hex, there’s a story behind it. In fact, that’s why his story would probably be better told if he had his own series. With HBO Max becoming more popular, I think now is the best time for more DC characters to get their own shows.
One of the biggest crimes of the Jonah Hex movie (there were many) was undermining his origin story. When we first see him, his family was killed by Quentin Turnbull and then he was subsequently disfigured by him. Quentin Turnbull is one of Jonah Hex’s major enemies in the comics, something they made clear in the movie. Jonah Hex was always written as a Confederate soldier, serving under the command of Quentin Turnbull. The movie quickly establishes that Jonah Hex turned on Quentin Turnbull and his fellow Confederates. Turnbull’s hatred of Jonah Hex ignited when Hex killed his son, Jeb. Of course, it was later revealed that Jonah Hex was forced to kill Jeb when Turnbull ordered them to burn down a hospital.
This was all briefly covered in the movie, but the comics goes far more into it. In fact, his story in the comics go way deeper into every aspect of his character. With a Jonah Hex show, we can actually get a chance to see that fully play out. What stood out to me the most about the story of Jonah Hex is his tragic backstory. To keep it short and brief, it was a life of slavery and betrayal.
This is something that the show can explore. His backstory is the backbone of his moral code. Jonah Hex will kill for money, being the bounty hunter that he is, but in his eyes, he’s killing bad people and being paid for it. His first bounty was actually by coincidence; he came across a man beating his wife and shot him to protect her. A local lawman saw it and revealed that he already had a bounty on his head. At that moment, Hex became a bounty hunter.
Shooting that man wasn’t just because he wanted to, however. When Jonah Hex was a boy, he was the victim of his abusive father and witnessed him abuse his mother as well. This is what drove him to protect women and children from abuse. The scarred bounty hunter has a soft side for the defenseless.
Speaking of his disfigurement, there have been some different stories behind that as well. The most famous story is when he dueled his adoptive brother Noh-Tante of the Apache tribe. Now this is a vital part of his backstory. When he was a boy, his father sold him as a slave to an Apache tribe. The tribe later raised him as one of their own after he rescued their chief from a wild animal. This earned him the respect of the tribe, including the affections of a tribe girl, but it also earned him the hatred of the chief’s son, Noh-Tante. Noh-Tante would later betray Jonah Hex and leave him for dead, and afterwards, Hex would join the Confederate Army.
Years later, Jonah Hex would later find the tribe, and challenge Noh-Tante to a duel using only tomahawks. Unbeknownst to the chief, Noh-Tante gave Hex a dull tomahawk, forcing Hex to use his knife to kill him. This angered the chief, who punished Hex by burning the right side of his face. However, Jonah Hex would later take his revenge after he came across the tribe once again and the chief killed the tribe girl he love. Hex lost one family, but went back to the Confederacy.
Jonah Hex initially believed in the cause of the South’s pursuit of independence, but couldn’t bring himself to continue fighting for the preservation of slavery. Being a former slave himself, Jonah Hex surrendered to the Union Army. He refused to give up the location of his fellow Confederates, but the Union soldiers discovered them anyway. This resulted in the Union soldiers massacring Jonah Hex’s former friends, including Jeb. As a result, Quentin Turnbull swore revenge against Jonah Hex.
Now an enemy of both sides and no family, Jonah Hex turned to a life of bounty hunting and spent his time avenging the innocent. All of this backstory is interesting stuff, and it’s not what we saw in the movie. I think a show could fully flush all of this out. What I would like to see most is Jonah Hex’s conflicted duty between his friends and his desire to fight for justice. Abandoning the Confederate Army cost him everything and created his greatest enemy. This was his most vital moments and what led him to becoming a bounty hunter. Even watching his time with the Apaches would be interesting to see, as they were the ones who raised him.
Eventually, I’d like to see how he became a master gunslinger. Watching everyone in town fear him because of his face, but act like a hero anyway would really define his character. If you want a real depiction of the character, just watch the animated short film, where he was voiced by Thomas Jane. Seriously, that was awesome. If we can get an animated show similar to that, I’d be so up for it.