All Star Western #34, DC Comics


When the New 52 launched back in 2011, one of the interesting things about the lineup of titles was the presence of a lot of books that attempted to break out of the standard superhero genre, at least a little. There were horror, fantasy and war comics, but the most creatively and commercially successful by far was DC Comics' All Star Western, featuring Jonah Hex. Now, however, All Star Western is coming to an end after three years with a story where Jonah Hex is faced with what may be his toughest foe yet: Jonah Hex.

This issue marks a pretty notable conclusion for a few reasons, most notably being that, if you count the Jonah Hex series that launched back in 2006 before rebooting as All Star Western, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are two of DC's longest tenured creators, having written over a hundred issues about Jonah Hex, the disfigured old west era bounty hunter originally created by John Albano and Tony DeZuniga in the early 1970s.

The second is that the issue marks the auspicious return of award-winning artist Darwyn Cooke to the character for his final adventure.



Now, for those of you who aren't caught up with All Star Western, a little explanation about Jonah Hex's current status might be in order. Sharp-eyed readers will have already noticed that in these pages he lacks his trademark scars, which were repaired when he was brought to the future by Booster Gold and got in a drunken motorcycle accident. This, of course, is not Hex's first experience with time travel -- back in 1985, he starred in an 18-issue series that was all about being brought into a post-apocalyptic future, something that was referenced on both Justice League Unlimited and Brave and the Bold.

As for his lady-friend, that's Tallulah Black, a character that Palmiotti, Gray and artist Phil Noto introduced with her own set of scars and a reasonably problematic backstory. She was played by Megan Fox in the amazingly boring Jonah Hex movie, so this is your reminder that there was actually a Jonah Hex movie at one point. Also, it's worth noting that these preview pages provide a small bit of closure for a very subtle arc of Hex's life. Back in the popular Vertigo stories of Hex by Joe Lansdale and Tim Truman (the ones that got them sued by Edgar Winter), it was revealed that Hex wasn't exactly the most literate cowboy, showing that he had a lot of trouble writing and even misspelled his own last name. Here, we can see that his penmanship has improved dramatically in the intervening years. Truly, he is an inspiration to us all.




Given the aesthetic boundaries of DC's New 52 line (which are becoming more porous), you could be forgiven for thinking that high profile artists like Noto and Cooke were the exception rather than the rule, but the fact is that from an art standpoint, All Star Western has been a pretty underrated art showcase. Moritat, whose distinctly Eurocomics style launched the series with Palmiotti and Gray, was one of the artistic standouts of the book, and the series also featured art from the legendary Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Not too shabby by any measure.

The final issue of All Star Western goes on sale this Wednesday in finer comics shops as well as digitally from DC Comics.