Review by: The Mike

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Avg Rating: 4.1
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Written by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Moritat
Backup Art by Scott Kolins
Cover by Rafael Garres

Size: 32 pages
Price: 3.99

This series is just relentlessly entertaining! This Wednesday, it also happens to be my pick of the week (though I’ll admit, that’s largely because of Batman Inc.’s absence).

First of all, it’s just exciting that All-Star Western even exists. Jonah Hex is one of those great characters that rarely has an equally great book to star in. Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have had a strong run since the very first issue, nailing both the tone and the personalities of the various cast members. Their two best decisions however were A: setting the series in Gotham and B: introducing Amadeus Arkham. Tying Hex’s adventures into the lore of Batman’s city allows them to both enrich and enhance each other, and Arkham is the perfect up-tight foil for Hex’s shoot-first mercenary personality to play off of (and if you know the future of this character in the comics, there’s also some kinda tragic foreshadowing).

The newly introduced Tallulah Black is not only a terrific addition, her character brings the book to a whole new level. The fact that her and Jonah Hex are practically the same person makes all of their dialogue hilarious; I just wish there was more of Arkham in this issue, the way Tallulah and Jonah make him twice as awkward as usual was one of my favorite elements in #10.

The Court of the Owls versus the Crime Bible storyline is going to split some people. Despite being great villains, The court has been somewhat over-exposed lately; like a great song that the radio plays to death. I personally like them here, because this isn’t a forced crossover. This is a comic where Gotham is a character, and the Court is a big part of that character. Basically, as long as the Owls are in the story for a reason that doesn’t involve marketing the other Batman books, I’m excited. The story in the backup leaves a bit less to talk about (it IS only 8 pages, 3 of which have almost no dialogue)- the visuals are where that mostly impresses. Still, the whole “Sherlock Homes meets Sleepy Hollow” thing has me intrigued.

Speaking of which, this book features some of my favorite art in the new 52. Not everyone will agree, Moritat’s pencils are certainly sketchier than what most people will be used to, but I love it. This book is odd because it mostly eschews character detail for background detail. The settings (especially city and crowd scenes) are stunning, showing a huge scope and incredible attention to minor details. Characters on the other hand are simple (though expressive) up close, and become sketchier and sketchier the farther they are away from center frame, to the point where their faces often become little more than a couple dots and a line inside of an oval. I don’t believe this is laziness, but rather a chosen style that you either love or hate. As I said, Gotham is truly one of the main characters here, it’s suitable for the book that it be drawn with such nuance- even if it’s occasionally at the expense of the human characters. Also, I know it’s from a different artist but…damn…DAT COVER.

The art in the backup is going to split far fewer people. While it’s also not typical comic art, it’s breathtaking stuff! It has an almost oil-painted kind of look that’s perfect for the eerie story it’s telling. That splash page of the “Sleepy Hollow” style villain rearing it’s horse up in the center of a dirt road on a moonlit night is one of the coolest I’ve seen since I’ve started reading this series.

$3.99 might be a bit pricey for one issue of an ongoing series, but there’s a lot of story (and kickass art) for your buck here. While you might not want to start with this one if you’re new to the series (#9 would be a lot better), it’s one of the better issues in a run that has been fantastic.

Story: 5 - Excellent
Art: 5 - Excellent


  1. Spot on review. This was a GREAT issue of ASW.

    This was going to be my POTW, but then I read the series-ending issue of “Planet of the Apes:…razor thin decision.

    All of your points are accurate. I thought Moritat actually tightened up a bit on this issue–which I liked.

    The back up story was a lot of fun.

    Your description of the Owls vs. Crime Bible is accurate…it’s not forced at all. It’s organic.

    I feel like All Star Western just upped its game.

    • Thanks for reading/commenting man!
      I loved this series for the first three issues, after that the plot started to meander a bit. I still really enjoyed it, but now that it’s found some focus again, it’s back to being one of those books I can’t wait for each month.

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