Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Jinny Hex Special #1 Review


How Do You Solve A Problem Like Jinny?

Writer: Magdalene Visaggio
Art: Gleb Melnikov
Colors: Luis Guerrero
Letters: Gabriela Downie
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 30, 2020

Jinny Hex Special #1 pits the descendant of the famed DC cowboy against an immortal searching for an all-powerful artifact. One year after her mother's death, a mysterious stranger named Jack Duckett shows up claiming to be Jinny's father. Duckett explains he left Jinny's mother without knowing she was pregnant and decided to connect with his presumed daughter after hearing of her mother's death. Duckett's motives are less than pure as we learn he's an immortal cowboy searching for the Godseye - a powerful artifact stolen by Jonah Hex years ago. Believing the Godseye is still possessed by the Hex family, Duckett gains Jinny's trust so he can search for and steal back the artifact to make himself a god. When Duckett finds, steals, and merges with the Godseye, he becomes the supervillain called Three-Eyed Jack and begins to remake reality to his own liking. Jinny and Lady Bird are confronted with haunted saloons, friends turned into monsters, and ghosts of Jinny's past while Three-Eyed Jack attempts to possess Jinny's body as a permanent host. Ultimately, Lady Bird and Jinny defeat Three-Eyed Jack with the power of will, friendship, and a solid uppercut, setting the stage for a mystical, magical road trip of future adventures.

Was It Good?

Pieces of it are good. Jinny Hex and her friends are extremely comfortable and likable. Their interactions are natural, and they feel like people you'd want to get to know and be friends with.

On the other hand, the story has more plot holes than a pound of swiss cheese, and Jinny, likable as she is, makes one bonehead move after another. You start to wonder how she's managed to stay alive up to this point when fighting along with Young Justice.

Short Story Long

We begin with Jinny Hex and friends fixing up Heck's Auto Repair. It's unclear why the garage has an alternate name spelling but it keeps cropping up as a point of confusion throughout the story.

Jinny's mother passed away one year ago, and the garage was left as an inheritance of sorts that's fallen into disrepair. Jinny, Lady Bird, and Alex are fixing up the garage to get it back in working order when a stranger, Jack Duckett, enters the garage claiming to be Jinny's long-lost father. Without much evidence besides an old photo with him and Jinny's mother, Jinny goes along with the reconnection story and enters into a getting-to-know-you montage.

It's at this point credibility strains. The Hex bloodline is prone to encountering more than it's share of weird. Jinny never stops to check out Duckett's story. She never asks for a blood test or a DNA test. She never calls on the Young Justice team for a criminal background check. She blindly accepts Duckett for who he claims to be without a hint of skepticism for his story or his motives. Maybe I'm being cynical, but it was a little too hard to swallow.

We also learn Jinny owns a chest of weird, otherworldly, magical items that's been passed down through Hex generations. The contents are varied, extremely valuable, and in some cases, extremely dangerous. But for some reason, Jinny keeps this chest with very valuable and very dangerous items under a blanket in the backroom of the auto repair shop. Jinny makes a point of explaining she knows the Justice League, has fought with Young Justice, and his even been to other dimensions and it somehow never occurs to her to put this very valuable and very dangerous chest in a safe or a vault or maybe behind a door that's locked.

Of course, Jinny wastes very little time showing off the chest and its contents to her supposed father... because sharing is caring.

Why is Jinny so dumb? Why?!?

The next day, Duckett breaks into the auto repair shop, ties up Alex, and steals the chest. Jinny and Lady Bird (who suspects Duckett is up to no good) walk in on the theft in progress but fail to stop Duckett from escaping with the chest, leaving Jinny with wounded pride, broken trust, and a bloody nose for good measure.

Out in the woods, Duckett rummages through the chest searching for one particular item - the Godseye - to merge with it. The merging is a skull-splitting bit of grossness that I like quite a lot for a supervillain design, and I'm interested to see if they can bring back future incarnations of Three-Eyed Jack for pure visual enjoyment.

As Duckett ascends to god status, a blast that looks like a nuclear mushroom cloud envelopes the town. Jinny and Lady Bird make it to the safety of her basement before the cloud overtakes them, and when they emerge, the entire town and its people have been transformed into an old-time Western town with Three-Eyed Jack sitting on a throne as their Lord Sheriff. Again, great art and character designs throughout this part of the story. That said, it's very unclear how or why Three-Eyed Jack was able to use his god powers to remake all of reality but somehow Jinny and Lady Bird were immune by hiding in a basement.

Jack sends Alex, now converted into a Solomon Grundy-esque behemoth, to capture Jinny and Lady Bird. The duo evades capture by shooting Alex with ray guns Jinny just happens to have laying around in a cardboard box. Suddenly, Jinny's mother appears and lulls Jinny into a deep sleep. It's not clear how she's able to make Jinny fall asleep or if she had that ability, why Jack sent a hulked out Alex in the first place when he could have just sent Jinny's mother.

Jinny wakes up in what looks like a saloon decked out for a Haunted House display where Jack explains he can do whatever he wants, including creating a facsimile of Jinny's mother. However, the age of his immortal body can't handle the power and he needs a new host. He tries to possess Jinny but it doesn't take (huh?) because she's too strong. I have no idea how a god that can remake reality is not strong enough to possess a 20-year-old girl. Does she defeat him with the energy of spunk? The power of pluckiness? Mary Sue powers... ACTIVATE!

Okay. Fine. Let's go with it.

Unable to possess Jinny, Jack inhabits Lady Bird instead but is somehow fighting to maintain control. Apparently, Jinny's stubbornness weakened the reality-bending god, and Lady Bird is able to resist his possession. Jinny seizes the opportunity and gives Lady Bird/Jack a primo uppercut right in the kisser. Jinny then rips the Godseye out of the stunned gods head, "destroying" Three-Eyed Jack and returning everything back to the way it was.

The next day, Jinny calls up Superman (why didn't she do that from the beginning?) to take the Godseye away for study and safekeeping. Jinny and Lady Bird talk over how they both may have a touch of magic, Jinny from her birth father and Lady Bird from a little residue left over from Jack's possession. They wrap the story by packing up for a road trip to search for more Jack Duckett-like threats, taking the very valuable and very dangerous chest with them... in the back bed of a wide-open pickup truck.

Bits and Pieces

Jinny Hex Special #1 captures the authentic tone of a weird western that fits within the Jonah Hex world. The central character and her friends are affable, and I like the art style all the way through, especially for the introduction of a new supervillain, Three-Eyed Jack. That said, Jinny has enough hero experience to know the world can be a very dangerous place but continues to make one impossibly bad judgment call after another. Couple bad judgment with a final battle that makes almost no sense, and you wind up with a one-shot that really didn't deserve 40 pages at $4.99. At best, this should have been tightened up, pared-down, and printed as a backup story in a better title.


1 comment:

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