Jonah Hex was a legendary bounty hunter on the American Old West in the 19th Century. His reputation as the deadliest man alive followed him everywhere, and he killed hundreds of men up until his death. Hex was a gruff anti-hero with a deep personal code of honor that kept him on the side of good despite his violent tendencies. Batman has teamed up with Hex on multiple occasions both in the past and present.
Jonah was born the only son to Woodson Hex and his wife, Virginia "Ginny" Hex. Growing up in Woodson's small farmhouse was a tumultuous time for young Jonah. Woodson was known for his excessive drinking and his abusive nature, and often took his violent urges out upon Jonah and Ginny. Finally on Jonah's tenth birthday Ginny abandoned her husband and child after one of Woodson's drunken rages.
After his wife left, Woodson took Jonah and traveled out to California in the hopes of mining for gold during the California gold rush. In his travels, he came across a tribe of Apache American Indians and entered into a dialogue with the Apache chief. He sold his thirteen-year-old son to the tribe in exchange for some fur pelts. The Apaches raised Jonah and educated him in the ways of their tribe. Through the chief, Jonah learned how to track and to hunt, as well as fighting and survival skills. After saving the chief from a puma, Jonah was granted freedom. Even though he now possessed the ability to come and go as he pleased, Jonah had grown accustomed to life among the American Indians, and preferred to stay in the Apache camp.
The chief decided to test Noh-Tante and Jonah's worthiness as warriors. He instructed the two boys to sneak into a nearby camp and steal horses from a tribe of Kiowa Indians. Noh-Tante believed this would make an excellent opportunity to claim White Fawn for himself. During the raid, Noh-Tante attacked Jonah, knocking him unconscious. Satisfied that the Kiowa would finish him off, he brought the horses back to his father and told the Apaches that the Kiowa had killed Jonah during the raid.
While the Apaches believed Jonah dead, a group of bounty hunters conducted their own raid on the Kiowa camp. During the firefight, a stray bullet struck Jonah's body and he was left bleeding on the ground. Shortly thereafter, a trapper discovered Hex's limp form and nursed him back to health. Betrayed by his own family, Jonah swore to never return to the Apache camp. He relied upon their teachings in order to survive however, and eked out a meager existence as a buffalo hunter.
As Jonah grew into adulthood, he joined the United States Army as a cavalry scout. By 1861, the country was radically divided on issues of slavery and Southern rights. When war erupted between the Northern states and the South, Jonah shifted his loyalties to the newly formed Confederate army and enlisted as a lieutenant in the 4th cavalry. Ironically, Hex, a former slave, now found himself fighting to preserve the very institution that he had been a victim of. During this time, Jonah met a fellow soldier named Jeb Turnbull and the two became close friends. Jonah started to see that he could no longer support a system that elected to hold his fellow man in bondage. He abandoned his post and marched into the Union camp at Fort Charlotte to surrender. The camp's captain pressured Hex into revealing the location of his Confederate unit, but Jonah refused to yield the information. An orderly at Fort Charlotte examined samples of clay from the iron shoes on Hex's horse, and successfully determined where the Rebels were stationed.
The Union soldiers tracked the enemy back to their camp, and took them by surprise. As the Rebels were arrested, the Union captain publicly thanked Jonah for his assistance, marking him as a traitor in the eyes of his former unit. All of the soldiers were brought back to Fort Charlotte. The Union camp did not possess enough food in order to adequately feed all of its prisoners, so the captain manipulated Hex into staging a breakout. Jonah found a shaft beneath his cell and used it to access the compound where Jeb Turnbull and the other prisoners were being held. He aided them in trying to escape, but the Union captain was prepared for them. In an event that history will know as the "Fort Charlotte Massacre", the Union soldiers shot down every escapee in cold blood, including Jeb Turnbull. Jonah found himself a victim of a Union bullet as well, but managed to survive long enough to kill the camp's captain. Following the Fort Charlotte Massacre, Jonah patched himself up and moved out towards the Western territories.
Hex eventually returned to the Apache camp where he had lived, and discovered that his old rival, Noh-Tante, had since married White Fawn, a mutual love interest. The Apache chief was shocked to learn that Hex was still alive, and now doubted the honesty of his son's tale concerning the Kiowa raiding party. Jonah openly declared that Noh-Tante had betrayed him.
In order to determine the truth, the Apache chief orchestrated a trial-by-combat between Jonah and Noh-Tante. Noh-Tante feared that Jonah was a more capable fighter, and so he deliberately sabotaged the tomahawk that Jonah was to use during the fight. As the trial commenced, Jonah found himself losing to Noh-Tante's brutal attacks. Unable to rely upon his tomahawk, Jonah used his Bowie knife to bring Noh-Tante down, killing him in the process. By doing so, Jonah broke a sacred law which forbade the murder of an Apache. Jonah appealed to the chief, claiming that he was fighting in self-defense, but the chief would not listen to him. Several braves held Jonah down while the chief ordered him branded with the Mark of the Demon. Jonah's face was hideously burned and he was expelled from the Apache camp never to return.
Bounty Hunter is BornEdit
Some time later, Jonah wandered into a boom town to drown his sorrows. After drunkenly stumbling out of a saloon, he found an outlaw named "Mad Dog" Lucas McGill in the throes of attacking a young woman. In an inebriated haze, Jonah's mind replaced Mad Dog's image with that of his own father. Mad Dog's words echoed violent sentiments that he had heard visited upon his own mother many, many times. Without thinking, Jonah withdrew his colts and shot Mad Dog down in the middle of the street. A deputy ran out and graciously thanked Jonah for bringing the outlaw down. He told Hex that a man could make a lot of money by tracking down and apprehending wanted felons, and inspired Jonah to pursue the bounty hunting trade.
Jonah is gunned-down and murdered by George Barrow. from which he would return from the dead and received supernatural powers, he traveled throughout the American West, he also ended up in South America and China.
New Ongoing SeriesEdit
In his Brand-New ongoing series, Hex's origin seems to have changed; he was a soldier who fought in the southern ranks during the American Civil War and he was scarred for life by a cruel union officer. He was also raised by Native Americans (and was given a tomahawk). Apparently, he quit the tribe and is now earning a living as a bounty-hunter in the wild west of the U.S. Fighting injustice and thugs, Jonah Hex thunders the arid plains with his two companions...one is Death itself...the other, the acrid smell of gun smoke.
In DCnU, Jonah Hex teams up with Amadeus Arkham to track down a serial killer in Gotham City. Hex's demeanor, haggard appearance, and the fact that he's sporting a confederate uniform from the civil war are particularly abrasive for Chief Cromwell, and he attempts to have both Hex and Arkham thrown out. However, Arkham proposes that he and Jonah Hex conduct a separate investigation together, and present their findings to the police. The Chief begrudgingly agrees.
Jonah Hex and Doctor Amadeus Arkham wait for the inevitable attack on their lives by the minions of the elite gentleman's club whom they discovered were doubtless responsible for the murders being pinned on the Gotham Butcher. Without much effort, Hex kills all but one in a hail of bullets and flames. He forces the remaining gunman to divulge that the Religion of Crime does indeed follow the teaching of the Crime Bible; that they want Gotham City to be their Vatican, using the prostitutes as sacrifices; and their hideout is the big house on the grounds of Blackgate Isle, which is expected to be the future home of a prison.
With the Chief out of the way, Colonel Hammersmith will be able to pursue his career in law enforcement. They believe that they have eliminated the threat that Hex and Arkham pose to them, but they are still wary, knowing of Hex's habit of cheating death. As the members of the Religion of Crime leave the mansion, Hex and Arkham ride up on their horses. They arrive in time to catch Doctor Dupree torturing Cromwell on a rack. Suddenly, Hex is knocked to the ground by a large muscular man. Arkham tries to be heroic, but is easily brushed aside. Doctor Dupree commands his thug bruiser to relieve Mr. Hex of his head.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- Driving: Hex became an expert at driving various motor vehicles during his time in the 21st Century.
- Equestrianism: He is competent enough to easily pick up riding with an unfamiliar horse.
- Firearms: Hex was taught to shoot by the legendary gunslinger Windy Taylor. His reflexes are strong enough that he has proven to be faster on the draw than both Wild Bill Hickok and Batman. He can also shoot perfectly blinded.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat: Jonah Hex has fought a bear head-on with nothing but his knife and won. He has also fought an alligator to death using his knife. Hex even fought some of the most powerful people like Deathstroke, Batman and Superman.
- Hunting: From a young age in his training he was considered to be the best hunter in his Apache tribe.
- Intimidation: Jonah Hex's reputation is so great that some men believe him to be a supernatural figure, and possessing the ability to cast spells against his enemies.
- Swordsmanship: Jonah is competent enough with his sword to take on three men carrying guns at close range and win.
- Tracking: From a young age in his training he was considered to be the best hunter in his Apache tribe.
- Investigation: He has shown skills as a detective (same par level as batman), said to be the "third greatest detective."
- Bowie Knife
- Cavalry Sabre
- High-Caliber Rifle