DC’s western title is part of their efforts to diversify the line. While diverse, I’m not sure it’ll scratch the itch many readers will want it to scratch.

General Information

Title: All Star Western #1

Author: Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray

Illustrator(s): Moritat (art) and Gabriel Bautista (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $3.99

Buy the digital edition.

Premise

A serial killer is loose in Gotham, and bounty hunter Jonah Hex teams with doctor Amadeus Arkham to root out the evil at the core of Mayor Cobblepot’s city.

High Point

This feels more like Sherlock Holmes than the traditional western.

Low Point

This feels more like Sherlock Holmes than the traditional western.

The Scores

Though it is original to take a western title and write it as gothic Victorian mystery, I’m not sure that’ll help it reach the audience the marketing would aim it at. I give it 5 out of 6.

The artwork is not only detailed and emotive, it evokes the art of the Victorian era is was inspired by. It’s a great fit. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story grabbed my attention, and I hate westerns. This feels more like Holmes and Watson in America than anything else, though. Imagine Sherlock Holmes without the breeding being sent after Jack the Ripper, and you’ve got a good idea what this book is like. We’ve even got what seems to be a well structured mystery here, though it’s hard to say that conclusively at this point, given how much mysteries depend on their endings. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization is well done. Pairing Hex with a psychologist gives a natural way to study the character. There’s also a story behind the doc, but given that he serves as narrator (in another Holmes parallel) his depth is not as explored at this stage. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was far better than I expected. I had absolutely no interest in a western title, and picked it up solely because of the deal I got on the complete 52. I’m glad I did, as I’ll be following at least the first story arc. I give it 5 out of 6.

The flow is very smooth. Character designs evoke the art of the Victorian era, but the poses and narration have the modern sensibilities needed to keep the story moving. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this was another pleasant surprise from the new line. Just don’t buy it looking for a western title, because that’s not what it is. Unfortunately, I think that’ll hurt its chances of long term survival. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, All Star Western receives 37 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman