Integrating Jonah Hex into the DC Universe sounded like the worst thing that could happen to the ill tempered , scar faced Old West bounty hunter. The idea of Hex bumping into Superman or some other superhero or villain is so utterly removed from Hex’s adventures it seems bizarre. Long time writing buddies Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti (now veterans at writing Hex with over 70 issues) have managed to handle this really well and in surprising ways though, even if they might have alienated the odd reader along the way.
Following his time travel misadventures Hex now finds himself back in the Old West and it’s a sombre affair as Hex goes about burying Gina his paramore from the future who died in mysterious circumstances.
What makes Jonah Hex so good is he isn’t a superhero and he doesn’t have powers either, which makes him considerably different to most characters in DC’s pantheon. Despite being reintroduced to the DC Universe he still pretty much exists in his own realm with its own characters as well as outlaws, moonshine and six shooters. Like most fringe characters you either get it or you don’t.
One of the characters that inhabits Hex’s world is Tallulah Black, who makes her return in this issue. The Ying to Hex’s Yang she is his counterpart, a scarred bounty hunter with a tortured past and the pair have a history and Tallulah’s reaction to Hex’s new unscarred face is deftly handled.
Staz Johnson provides some sublime moody art which features some classic Old West imagery aided by a suitably moody colour palette from Michael Atiyeh. All Star Western shares the same layout style featured in the pairs pre 52 Jonah Hex title featuring bold chapter headings.
The return to an inclusion of a back up story, this issue featuring Madame 44, gives All Star Western an anthology feel again which is both hit and miss, it’s always interesting seeing Palmiotti and Gray work on another character in the same world as Hex but it also means there’s less of Hex.