When it launched in September 2011 All-Star Western was one of my favourite books in DC's New 52. It teamed up 19th century bounty hunter Jonah Hex with the fastidious and bookish Amadeus Arkham - who would ultimate found Gotham City's infamous mental institution Arkham Asylum. The books seemed like a wonderful blend, combining western action with historical Gotham, allowing for numerous references to the broader DC Universe while still telling entertaining stories.
Sadly my tastes don't seem to have aligned with general comic book readers, because while I thought it was a great book very few comic fans seemed to buy it. The sales dropped from 39,000 at launch to 23,000 by the end of its first year, then 14,000 by the end of its second. It's now hovering perilously close to cancellation. To give the book a chance at gaining some new readers, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have thrown Jonah Hex into his far future where he is now trapped, wandering 21st century America. He's basically on a road trip. He's met Batman, John Constantine, Swamp Thing and - in All-Star Western #27 - gets to hang out with Superman.
It's a dreadful idea. They may co-exist in the broader DC Universe but Superman and Jonah Hex do not mesh together at all well. It's also getting ridiculous how Hex's road trip is leading him from one DC hero to another without any real logic dictating why. In the issue's second half Hex is dragged to a museum where his own life story is presented as an exhibit, a scene that could be good but isn't. All up I'm rather sad. Moritat's art continues to impress, but the writing has gone out of the window. This used to be an excellent comic that couldn't find an audience. Now it's a bad comic that still can't find an audience. (1/5)
DC Comics. Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. Art by Moritat.
Under the cut: reviews of Aquaman, Batman and Robin, Black Science, Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand, The Flash, The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires, Guardians of the Galaxy, Revival, Saga, Thor: God of Thunder and X-Men Legacy. I want to say right here above the cut: this was a really decent week for comics, with only one other glaring misfire in my stack.