All Star Western: Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Moritat, Gabriel Bautista, Rob Leigh, Ladronn
Unholy Matrimony: Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Patricia Mulvihill, Rob Leigh
I may have been a little premature about the writers of this book completely skipping over the Night of the Owls business last ish. I’ll get to that later. How about this cover, though? Pretty spectacular. Sometimes Ladronn outdoes himself. Herself? I’m honestly not sure, sorry. But anyway, I really like the contrasts of light and shadow on this cover, it’s very well done.
Inside the book, look at that bodyguard Bennett has! With that red cape, and how it billows as he moves away, it REALLY reminds me of Spawn. And then, on the next page, we see the bodyguard on a roof and it REALLY REALLY reminds me of Spawn. I can’t accept any other reason than this was Moritat’s intent. And it’s a very lovely homage.
Next we get to know Alan Wayne better. Wasn’t he the one featured in one of Snyder’s Batman issues? Alan Wayne’s death? Oh well. Interestingly, in this sequence, we see something that may or may not have survived the “Flashpoint” alternate reality: a Wayne Casino poker chip. Wayne and Bennett argue over connections and power, and what matters most in Gotham, before making us readers decidedly hate Bennett.
Tallulah is resting up after her fall, watched over by Amadeus, while the good doctor and Jonah have a hilarious conversation. I love the interaction between these two. I think Amadeus is such a well-crafted and well-executed character. In the wrong hands, this guy could come off as dry (in a non-funny way) and extremely boring. Imagine the Amadeus Arkham “Spirit of Arkham” voice in the first “Batman: Arkham Asylum” video game. That guy was AWFUL to listen to. We also get a very brief glimpse into the mysteries that Amadeus keeps in his house. Can’t wait to see more!
Arkham tries to talk to Wayne, but that scene suddenly goes nowhere. I couldn’t help but wonder if my issue was missing pages, because practically nothing happens in that scene. I had to give up and assume that the two talked and decided on some things. Or argued and grew further apart. Hard to say. I honestly can’t see why a man like Wayne, with the hereditary Wayne values, would associate and agree on anything with Hex - though they do both believe in freedom and justice…. Weird, I hope we see what became of that short meeting.
Probably the best part of the issue is the inclusion of the Court of Owls. They speak of the Crime Bible, something that’s very big in the DC lore, and it gets me all goose bumpy thinking about what’s to come with that. The Court drops all sorts of names and tie-ins to the main, current-time story, before naming their desired target. Perhaps Hex can help them out….
More incredible humor follows with the awakening of Tallulah, and Amadeus goes to the jail to speak with a raving lunatic who claims to be chased by owls. Sound familiar? What I loved in this last sequence is the Amadeus narration. These are just gold nuggets to someone who really appreciates writing. This is why I keep coming back to the book. Amadeus just spews character in these narration boxes. They’re never overdone, overused, or too complex. It’s exactly what the character needs to express, and then it’s over. Nothing drawn out. Perfect.
The end of the issue suggests that, even though issue #9 has past, the Night of the Owls may not be over after all… CUE THE THUNDER AND LIGHTNING EFFECTS!
Now, quickly on the second story in this ish. I was not looking forward to yet ANOTHER story about a character who I didn’t care about. But WOW this was OUTSTANDING. I was laughing the ENTIRE way through! Bat Lash is a very despicable guy, but makes for a brilliant character and one that you actually end up LIKING because of it! The way Lash goes through his memories of scandalous events past was hilarious, and some of the imagery is just way too funny to overlook. For example, baby Lash reaching greedily for a pair of breasticles. My goodness, so funny. Very nice job on this one, Gray and Palmiotti.
All Star Western #10, the verdict: A great issue that helps to build, not only on its own storyline in development, but on the history of Gotham as a whole. I’m looking forward to having my mind blown when I see something in either Batman or All Star directly reference the other book. I think that would be awesome. Also, is it me…or is Amadeus starting to look familiar? Like…as if he were modeled after a certain person. It’s the bottom panel on the second-to-last page of the main issue where I see this the most, where he’s standing in shock of what he sees. Is it a mix of Robert Englund and Edgar Allen Poe? I can’t tell, but I love this guy. Team Amadeus.
(Photo Source: Newsarama)