Review: All-Star Western #1

Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, Art and cover by Moritat

Solicitation Info (from Previews): Even when Gotham City was just a one-horse town, crime was rampant – and things only get worse when bounty hunter Jonah Hex comes to town. Can Amadeus Arkham, a pioneer in criminal psychology, enlist Hex’s special brand of justice to help the Gotham Police Department track down a vicious serial killer? Find out in this new series from HEX writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, with lush artwork by Moritat (THE SPIRIT)!

Bias: I read the Jonah Hex series by the same team of writers, and it was good, but didn’t keep my attention long-term. Setting the series in Gotham, and having other back-up features could be interesting, but I’m not sure it can maintain my interest any better than the previous title did.

What I liked: The basic story was interesting – setting up a murder mystery straight out of Jack the Ripper (only set in Gotham, post-Civil War). I mean, the idea of Jonah Hex versus a Jack the Ripper knock-off is quite appealing – and I’ve never read a story in which Jonah Hex went back East, so Jonah in “civilized” society is fun to read as well. It almost felt like a Sherlock Holmes story, only where Jonah Hex was the protagonist instead of the famous detective (which, of course, paints the whole thing in a completely new light.) I also really enjoyed Dr. Arkham’s observations on Jonah Hex (the narration that runs through the whole story), which I felt both presented an easy introduction to the character for new readers, and gave long-standing fans of the character a new, amusing viewpoint.

What I disliked: Most of the artwork was great, though there were pages where it felt pretty slap-dash – and a lot of the illustrations of Dr. Arkham’s moustache and beard looked as if they were scribbled in sharpie by a teenager who thinks drawing fake beards on artwork is the height of humor. Also, though I enjoyed Dr. Arkham’s observations, by the end it was starting to wear thin – too much repetition. I was a little disappointed to not see a back-up feature. Was I misinformed that there was to be one? Or is that only in future issues (allowing this one extra space to begin the main, Jonah Hex story)?

Verdict: I’m at least curious enough to want to finish out the current storyline so I can see what’s going on. So I’ll collect the first story arc, at least.

As always, SPOILERS in comments, including my favorite scene, thoughts on what happened, and questions about what’s to come.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Review: All-Star Western #1

  1. My favorite scene was at the end. I was enjoying the story, though the narration was starting to become annoying, when the whole conspiracy angle showed up. That’s what synched it for me, even if it was rather cliché. I mean, the cliché rarely involves Jonah Hex shooting and beating up those in the conspiracy, and I can’t help but believe that’s coming! Definitely excited me for what’s to come…

    I also rather enjoyed the idea that crazies have been in Gotham from the beginning. So many comics have done the old “the super hero brought the villains here! We need to get rid of the super hero!” So to see a case where the super villains were there over a century ago…well, it just felt right for Gotham.

    As for the mysterious, hooded woman from Flashpoint #5, she was slightly off center in the crowd of the top panel on page 14.

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