[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Letters: Rob Leigh
Takron-Galtos, the prison planet, may be behind them—but in order to beat the Gang and get home, the boys must saddle up to survive a wild wild world of the west! An unlikely guide on this lawless planet might just help Superboy and Robin survive…but what in the west world is Jonah Hex doing out here in space?! Hold on to your hats, this one’s going to be a bucking good time!
Superboy and Robin’s journey through outer space have involved a number of odd ersatz versions of various DC characters or settings, and this issue is no exception. This time, the Super Sons find themselves on Leone-5, a planet themed around the Wild West, and meet a robot recreation of bounty hunter Jonah Hex.
Although Hex doesn’t currently have his own series, he somehow manages to pop up in various DC titles with rather frequently, which usually serves to spice up any storyline. Jonah may be rather a rather gruff individual, but he seems to be a favourite of creators and fans alike. I think that DC should perhaps consider giving Jonah a new ongoing series – or at least a mini.
I also have to wonder why there are so many so many alien planets seem to be borrowing from Earth’s culture or imitating its residents. From what we’ve seen of the wider universe, Earth is mostly considered a backwater of little significance. How has Earth come to have such influence on the wider cosmic population despite having had very limited contact with other planets? I hope that Tomasi plans to reveal what is causing this tendency or that other writers might pick up on this idea in the future.
This issue also raises some interesting philosophical questions about Free Will. The Hex robot is incapable of leaving the planet due to his programming. The boys’ Green Lantern trainee companion offers to alter his programming to remove the imposed limitations of his programming. After Hex refuses, the kid Lantern forcibly reprograms him. Even though Hex seems happy to have freedom of choice afterwards, it leaves me wondering if it’s morally right to force freedom on someone who doesn’t want it.
Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any easy answers to the question, so we are forced to take at Hex’s change of mind at face value. Perhaps he is better off with this freedom, whether he wanted it or not.
The only real criticism I can give the issue is that Tomasi rather quickly glosses over a fascinating philosophical dilemma. However, this is a comic book, not a philosophy class, and Tomasi isn’t an ethics professor. There’s a story to be told here, and only a few issues left to tell it, so Tomasi wisely opts to keep the story moving.
This is one the best DC series and I would say that it ranks among some of the best DC titles of all time. I will be sorry when this current mini reaches it conclusion, and I hope that DC has future plans for the saga of the Super Sons to continue in one form or another.