All-Star Western #1


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All-Star Western #1


  • Words: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
  • Art: Moritat
  • Colors: Gabriel Bautista, Jr.
  • Story Title: No Rest for the Wicked
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Sep 28, 2011

From cover to cover, writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti establish Gotham as a criminal oasis, long before the emergence of its greatest hero.  Murder and corruption are deeply rooted in the emerging city, from the dregs of society to the rich and powerful.  Amadeus Arkham, just beginning his study of psychology, is called to investigate the brutal and psychotic murder of a prostitute, presumed to be the work of the emerging Gotham Butcher.  Though his brilliance as a psychologist is evident, this early in his career and the doctor is no detective, leaving him to request the aid of famous bounty hunter, Jonah Hex.

It is through the doctor’s inner monologue that Gray and Palmiotti explore the abrasive bounty hunter, his harsh and destructive methods, his polarizing moral code, and his possibly tragic childhood.  Hex’s moral code, moreover, is without a doubt one of the most interesting and vital aspects of the character.  Arkham even goes as far as to compare Hex to the Gotham Butcher, with Hex’s code being the only differentiating factor between the two violent men.

The gruesome tone of All-Star Western #1 is brought to life by the gorgeous and detailed artwork of Moritat.  Whether Moritat is penciling grand cityscapes, or focusing on a single dank alleyway, his artwork is meticulous, with every detail making its way to the page.  He is not merely limited to static sequences either, as Hex’s drunken bar fight clearly displays Moritat’s skills at crafting high energy brawls, complete with fist-flying punches, broken jaws, shattered mirrors, and enough booze to satiate the thirstiest drunkard.  

Coloring Moritat’s pencils is colorist Garbriel Bautista, whose limited color palette serves All-Star Western’s tone quite well.  Bautista relies heavily on browns and grays, while using bloody reds and oranges to add extra pop to important or gruesome scenes.  A splash page of Hex at a second murder scene is the perfect example of how simple yet powerful Bautista’s colors can be.

All-Star Western #1 is much more than a detective story in Gotham City, the characterization of Jonah Hex is top notch, and adds a vast amount of depth to the book.  Gray, Palmiotti, and Moritat not only made Akrham and Hex fascinating, but are adding to the colored and gruesome history of Gotham City itself.

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