On the night that Jonah Hex was being born, his father Woodson had been accosted outside by a gang sent by Colonel William Jennings to find and murder fugitive Mormons who might have taken refuge with sympathetic Missourian families. Woodson
- My god. What an extraordinarily tragic life you've led.
Synopsis for the 1st Story
On the night that Jonah Hex was being born, his father Woodson had been accosted outside by a gang sent by Colonel William Jennings to find and murder fugitive Mormons who might have taken refuge with sympathetic Missourian families. Woodson had heard of this gang, and their blatant disregard for human life - even children. Rather than let them into his home, he attacked them with an axe, dodging their gunfire, eventually killing each one. Before killing the last of them, the midwife stepped out with the newborn child in her arms, and Woodson promised to teach him everything he knew about men like these.
Some years later, Woodson had fallen into alcoholism and was abusive toward his wife and child. As Virginia pled with him to give up drinking, he threatened to give her a worse beating. However, young Jonah had grabbed a gun, and pointed it as his father. Woodson felt his wife had turned his own son against him, but Jonah warned that he had done a good enough job of that himself. Feigning a change of heart, Woodson managed to take Jonah by surprise and grabbed the gun from him, dislocating the boy's arm and dragging him outside to be beaten with a switch. Virginia herself took up the gun, and warned her husband to get gone and sober up, or she'd shoot him.
While Woodson was gone, Virginia packed up and ran off with a travelling salesman named Dazzleby, leaving Jonah to deal with his father alone. Feeling abandoned, Jonah waited for his father to come home. When he did, Woodson decided to seek his fortune in California, and he was only too happy to unload Jonah on a tribe of Apache, in exchange for passage through their lands.
Though he was raised as one of them, the younger Apache did not accept him, particularly the chief's son Noh-Tante. He would taunt and tease Jonah, and often would only relent when he was caught by the beautiful White Fawn, who had developed a crush on the outsider.
One night, Jonah and Noh-Tante faced their last test on the path to becoming men. They were to sneak into a Kiowa camp, and steal some horses. However, while in battle with the Kiowa tribe, Noh-Tante attacked Jonah, betraying him, and leaving him for dead. Jonah survived, and was discovered later by some frontiersmen.
From there, Jonah joined the rebels in the Civil War. While storming a Yankee fort, he was shot and caught by Colonel Akerman, who ordered that an example be made of him. He had Jonah tied to a cross on a raft, with the stars and stripes draped over him, while Captain Fulsome whipped him brutally until he began to float away, down the Cumberland River. Some time later, he was found and nursed back to health by some villagers downstream.
A man now, Jonah returned to the Apache tribe, welcomed by his adoptive father. However, Noh-Tante had lied about Jonah's fate to the tribe, and Jonah had come for revenge against him. Rather than let Jonah shoot his son, the chief made them fight with honour. They would duel, but only Tomahawks could be used as weapons. In the fight, Noh-Tante kicked Jonah in the groin, effectively cheating. Angrily, Jonah responded by thrusting a knife into his rival's throat. Though it had been Noh-Tante who cheated first, it was Jonah who was punished for cheating. The chief agreed to let Jonah live, but he would be given the mark of the demon, to show that he is a man of both good and evil. The chief heated a tomahawk to red-hot, and then pressed the searing blade into Jonah's cheek, burning, scarring, and cauterizing all at once. This mark would be permanent.
After hearing this story, Amadeus Arkham is taken aback by the tragedy of his recent companion's life. Jonah has been drunk for some time, and has lost patience for talking, and so urges Reginald Forsythe to get on with pleading his case. Forsythe's employer has had something stolen from him - a dangerous medical formula that was meant to treat criminals by suppressing their violent natures - but may lead to an increase in violent behaviour. Tiring of this explanation, Jonah merely demands an offer of money and a target. Obediently, Forsythe offers three thousand dollars to locate the thief. With that, Jonah grabs Tallulah Black, and the two of them retire to bed.
Elsewhere in Gotham City, Rogan McKee returns to Haly's Circus to meet with his uncle Kirk, proprietor of a medicine show. Rogan wound up in prison recently, and has since returned without his limp thanks to a cure-all formula that he stole from a doctor after his leg was cured. He passes the formula on to his uncle and in the hope of getting rich with it.
In the harbour, meanwhile, a young woman returns to Gotham to get her mother back.
Appearing in the 1st Story
- White Fawn
- Woodson Hex
- Virginia Hex
- Ashby (Dies)
- Captain Fulsome
- Reginald Forsythe
- Colonel Akerman
- Starting with this issue and going forward, the cover dress includes the phrase "Featuring Jonah Hex" in larger print, following the All-Star Western logo.