by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Moritat
Featuring a story that is good, if not overly creative, All Star Western #0 is a full-length origin story for the New 52’s Jonah Hex. Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray weave a tale that jumps from traumatic point, to traumatic point, throughout Jonah’s life prior to the first issue last year.
The plot is a little jumpy and may irritate some readers. About halfway through the jumps become less frequent, and less bothersome, as a great deal of the later half deal with Jonah’s time with the Apache and the Confederate Army. Each go a long way to explaining why Jonah is the way he is. It is also explained how he got his face disfigured and the scares on his body.
The parental woes and traumatic childhood will not wow anybody. This concept isn’t new, especially in comics (Bruce Wayne anybody?), but despite that, Palmiotti and Gray manage to get it out of the way relatively quickly. An interesting thing to note about this issue is that it will transition perfectly into the next. It is certainly a welcome change than a one-off story that completely saps the momentum of the series.
Moitat’s artwork in this issue is probably his best effort to date for this series. The action came frequently and a lot of the panels really let him let loose with the pencils. All Star Western #0 and Moritat surprise with this comic, there is a lot to like about the way this comic is presented visually.
Colourist Mike Atiyeh, who is currently working on the Darth Maul series from Dark Horse, does a fantastic job with this issue. When given a standard scene, he utilizes his full palette to render a realistic world, but when asked to set the tone he takes a dominant colour and creates a whole new meaning for a scene.
The highlight of the book is the scene where Hex battles his Apache nemesis Noh-Tante. It is the climax of the script, but it is also impressive artistically. The scene takes place on two different pages, and the panel arrangement is exceptional. The way Moritat fills each panel with enough detail that we can following this epic skirmish is masterful.
For fans of this series, All Star Western #0 should be heralded as the best entry into the series in a while. At some point I would like to see Jonah emerge from the shadow of Gotham, I don’t believe this book needs to be associated with the ‘Bat-family’, even in such a small way, to survive. 90% of this issue has nothing to do with Gotham City, and that is part of what makes it one of the best entries into the series in the last several months. Palmiotti and Gray were wise to set up their next story-arc, which will take place in Gotham, but I’m pretty intrigued by what I’ve seen, so I’m staying onboard with this series.
Story – 7/10
Art – 8/10
Overall – 8/10
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