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Tag Archive: All-Star Western #1


Ten weeks ago I posted my list of what I intended to buy from the DC Comics New 52.  To recap, they were:

Then through browsing the racks at the store, I added the following, based on something I saw in the title or a page-turn, or in the case of Animal Man, a good review:

Based solely on what I read in Issue #1 of each, I decided to not go forward with the following titles:

I reviewed Action Comics #1 here.  Just not the Superman I was interested in reading about, I guess.  (All other DC Comics titles I have reviewed here include links in comic title names in this article).

Green Lantern #1 was spent exclusively on Sinestro, not Hal Jordan, and because I wasn’t interested in an ongoing Sinestro book, I gave up on buying Issue #2, which he also appears to be featured in.

Voodoo #1 was so thin in plot and long on shock factor that it made the bottom of the list of all that I read over the past three months.  Not my cup of tea.

Supergirl #1 wasn’t bad.  But I couldn’t help comparing it to Michael Turner’s and Jeph Loeb’s Supergirl from the Superman/Batman series and this just didn’t compare.

Birds of Prey was a series I read in about 5-10 issue arcs over several years.  This isn’t the same team, and it’s not worse because there is no Oracle, it is just not the same sensibility.  I prefer the more mature, aka women heroine vs. girl heroine Birds of Prey group of the past, and I don’t like at all where the current Black Canary is, they should get her back in the Green Arrow title.  I think the characters are drawn almost like teenagers, as if this should be a companion to the Teen Titans.  That would make more sense.  So I left this title behind after Issue #1, too.

I decided to go forward and read Issue #2 of the following titles, however, just to give them another shot (I plan to review each Issue #2 at a later date):

So this is how five titles were cut from my pull-list.  The big winners?  I have eight titles I hope to be reading for a long time:

I will also keep buying Green Arrow in hopes that it will improve, and Jim Lee’s Justice League since it seems to glue a lot of the other stories together.

Frankly, eight is about the right number I wanted to end up with, especially at current comic book prices.  I also will keep reading til the end of the short series, Huntress.  And as I get into more Marvel Comics I will be adding at least one book from that publisher to the ongoing read pile, in addition to independent publisher books Bionic Man and Rachel Rising.

So was the first round of the New 52 successful?  Ultimately most of what I read was worth reading, so I’d answer a definite “yes“.  I read 21 of the 52 titles, more than I planned to read.  The biggest surprise?  How much I liked All-Star Western #1 and its mix of old Gotham City and Jonah Hex.  Captain Atom and Justice League Dark were the two books I was most curious about, and they both delivered in a big way stellar stories and art about more minor DC Comics characters that I now can’t wait to read more about.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

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Review by C.J. Bunce

I like western movies.  I like the sounds of the Old West, the cattle, the clinking of spurs as the two guys slowly meet up in the center of the old western town.  I like epic western soundtracks and I like slow guitar soundtracks, and theme songs that sometimes tell a familiar story.   I also have read a little Louis L’Amour and love his writing and descriptions.  I’ve never thought of picking up a comic book about the Old West, mainly because they don’t make ‘em anymore.

I almost didn’t pick up All-Star Western #1, one of DC Comics’s New 52 line.  Mostly because it had the crazy looking Jonah Hex on the cover.  All I knew of Hex was watching a bit of the Jonah Hex movie, which for whatever reason I didn’t finish on video.  But somehow (fate?) it ended up in my pull list.  I have read a super western-ish book recently called El Diablo: The Haunted Horseman, by Jai Nitz, Ande Parks, and Phil Hester, that was just awesome (to be reviewed here later on).  Intrigued by the idea of a current western comic in the midst of the Justice League superheroes, I read it first from the stack.

From a literary standpoint there is almost an unending supply of reasons to check this one out.

Unusual Setting

One would think a western comic took place in the Old West.  This takes place in Gotham city in the 1880s, which in my mind is more Old East.  The drawings have a nice old-time feel to them.  The colors offer more than just sepia tones.  There’s a little Mike Mignola and P. Craig Russell’s Gotham by Gaslight feel here for sure.  A good thing, as I wished that book had turned into its own series.

Narration

The narrator is none other than the founder of Gotham’s own Arkham Asylum, Doctor Arkham himself.  Arkham is our narrator, and he’s a bit odd.  His character, his mannerisms, and his creepiness might remind you of Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker in Otto Preminger’s Laura.  A further creepy scene may also make you think he’s a bit of Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Familiar But Reliable Plot

To get us into this world quickly, the plot seems to be a mix of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven and a Jack the Ripper tale.  Pacing is reminscent of Alan Moore’s From Hell.  There’s also a bit of the outcast element of Danny Glover’s Mal in Silverado.  There’s a medical aspect of the 19th century as well, the sleuthing of an early Detective Comics of sorts, but again, familiar because of the similar treatment in From Hell.  The art here, however, is a lot more stylish and evocative.  The only downside will be if this continues to be just another Jack the Ripper story.  Too many stories end up there.

The Archetype Western Anti-Hero

Not only does the half-mangled faced Jonah Hex play the anti-hero, he talks a bit like Clint Eastwood mixed with Sam Elliott.  Hex’s confederate uniform really brings you back to Sam Elliot’s performance as Dal Traven in Louis L’Amour’s The Shadow Riders, but there is also a little of Elliott’s Ghost Rider’s Caretaker mixed with The Golden Compass’s Lee Scoresby.  To get me to conjure any incarnation of Sam Elliott in your character is a win in my book.  But then again there’s a spin on Eastwood’s Stranger from High Plains Drifter, as you can see the whole town of Gotham closing in on Dr. Arkham and Hex after only the 24th page.  Who would have thought Jonah Hex could be so cool?

If you want something truly different, pick up this book.

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