All Star Western # 1 is basically a straight forward detective story. A fish-out-of-water tale explored previously in the modern day cowboy drama Coogan’s Bluff (1969) and the TV show spin-off McCloud (1972). The story by Gray and Palmiotti is well written if unoriginal and the art by Moritat is very good if uneven at times. The coloring is a weak point with page after page of two-tone colors that serve to remind the reader this is a Victorian setting. It is simply overstated by Gabriel Bautista. There is much psycho-analysis from Doctor Amadeus Arkham seeking to explain the twisted personality of Jonah Hex and a murdered prostitute straight out of Jack the Ripper.
The main problem is how the first issue of this comic book justifies being named All Star Western when it takes place exclusively in the urban environment of Gotham City. A back-up Western story would have helped. I believe future issues include Western characters in Western settings.
Verdict : Entertaining with much room for improvement. Weird West fans will find no references to the weird outside of a sinister group wearing a skull ring.
Cover art and characters ™ and © DC Comics. All Rights Reserved
Review © 2011 Paul Green
Jonah Hex is back to square one. With the re-launch of all DC titles in September 2011, Jonah Hex #70 marked the final issue of his own title. The re-numbered All-Star Western is his new home. The same title where Hex made his debut back in 1972. Hex purists may not care for the new locale for his adventures. Gotham City in the 1880s. The preview artwork suggests a Steampunk world rather than the Old West and his first storylines don’t appear to be weird in any supernatural sense. Although El Diablo features in Weird West stories in later issues.
With sales of his now defunct title plunging to 10,500 from a peak of over 33,000 in 2005 DC executives have given the creative team behind All-Star Western six months to create enough interest and sales to ensure the survival of the title.
All-Star Western #1 Writers: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti; Art and cover: Moritat
Gotham City has always been a cesspool of criminals and trouble-makers – even back in the days of the Wild West – 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 title features back-up stories starring DC’s other western heroes.
On sale September 28
40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Trust the creative people in Hollywood to screw with the original story of Jonah Hex and turn the film adaptation into such a disaster it seriously undermines the future of the Weird Western on film.
The 73 minute Jonah Hex (minus credits) brought in an abysmal $5.08 million and is ranked # 8 in it’s first weekend. The pressure on the creative staff behind Cowboys & Aliens to deliver a film the critics and public will embrace becomes increasingly important for the future of the genre as a viable subject for film makers.