ALL-STAR WESTERN: THE WAR OF LORDS AND OWLS by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Moritat
Couldn’t resist picking up the second volume of All-Star Western from DC’s New 52 lineup. The first volume was just too good to easily walk away from, and now I’m waiting on the release of the third volume.
This series just continues to improve, adding layers and nuances of character, growing the characters and the conflicts within Gotham, and touching on more and more of the history that evidently led to the villains that parade around Gotham in the present day.
The first arc continues the loose end left from Guns and Gotham, the first volume, and it dips a little more into the superhero genre. Nighthawk and Cinnamon, both masked vigilantes, are somewhat different than I remember them, especially with the magic necklaces that throws the element of the supernatural into Jonah Hex’s world. Then there’s the addition of Talon, one of the members of the Council of Owls group that’s currently plaguing Batman. I haven’t read those books, so I’m not certain what that’s all about at the moment, but I’m definitely more curious.
The New Orleans backdrop to the story is awesome. I went back and looked through the panels again. Moritat’s art is so detailed and so atmospheric I just wanted to see more of the city, but I’m also relishing his rendition of Gotham as well, so it’s a trade-off to me, and either way I’m a winner!
The first arc has some nice twists in it, and Amadeus Arkham continues to bring an element of levity that was never in the original Jonah Hex series. I believed it would have been out of place until I saw how much Amadeus brings to the stories. The tales just wouldn’t be the same without him and his long-suffering partnership with Hex.
The second arc takes place back in Gotham and brings in Tallulah Black, a character from Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti’s first run on Jonah Hex which I thought might have been lost with the shift to the New 52. She adds a whole new element and a new look to the series (and more embarrassment to Amadeus), and I’m looking forward to her hanging around.
The backup features to the stories this time feature a – more or less – origin story for Nighthawk and Cinnamon, a solo Bat Lash tale that’s really good, and a so-so Terrence Thirteen two-parter. Dedicated fans will recognize the Terrence Thirteen name from the Phantom Stranger comics and this is a pretty nice send-up of the character’s backstory. Reminded me a lot of Professor Challenger from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.