All-Star Western has finally left Gotham City with issue #7, but things haven’t substantially improved. Amadeus Arkham is still Jonah Hex’s sidekick. The action has moved to New Orleans, which is not quite the west. The new villains are a group of anti-immigrant terrorists in improbably steampunk outfits (with lots of leg, of course). There are a couple of new additions, or reintroductions, in classic DC western heroes Gunhawk and Cinnamon. DC is keeping All-Star Western firmly rooted in the Batman family by suggesting that Arkham got the idea for a masked vigilante running the rooftops of a city from these two, although I believe this may be the first time that Cinnamon ever wore a mask. Jonah Hex’s characterization is still odd. At one point he runs into a burning building to rescue victims of a bombing; even one of the side characters notes how out of character that is for Hex.
I’d like to blame the writers for fraking this series up so badly, but I don’t think this is their fault. Palmiotti and Gray could not have suddenly collapsed this badly moving between the Jonah Hex series and All-Star Western. They write the backup stories in each issue (this one featuring Gunhawk’s origin) and those are well written and engaging. DC’s New 52 is doing a tough job of realigning 60+ years of comics into something new and marketable, and for some fool reason Jonah Hex got shoved into the Batman family as part of it. DC would have done better returning Hex to the Vertigo line, which is where Tim Truman and Joe Lansdale did such great work on the character in the 1990’s.
Of course, hypocritically, I will keep buying it, because I get the feeling that the comics publishing world is looking at the sales of All-Star to gauge whether to let another western from a major publisher hit the shelves. It’s a crappy way to do business, but it is what it is.
|You and me both, sister!|