All Star Western: Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Moritat, Mike Atiyeh, Rob Leigh, Pia Guerra, Ariel Olivetti
This was pretty incredible. But I have come to expect nothing less than awesome work from Palmiotti and Gray. Everything is always fantastic. This is no exception, either. This issue, the story of Jonah Hex, is broken into smaller anecdotes that tell different chapters in his life. I really like what we’re given, and I’ll briefly explain each one.
First, Woodson Hex, Jonah’s father, violently defends his home and family from a group of Mormon hunters on the night of Jonah’s birth. His savagery bears a striking resemblance to the Jonah we will come to know. Pretty much any kind of devastating blow he can make, he makes without hesitation. I love when he talks to Ashby at the end, saying that he’s got a son he’ll name Jonah. Great moment.
What makes this first story even stronger is how we learn of Woodson’s huge decline. He was a great man, who fought for his family. Now he’s a horrible man, who fights his family. It gets so bad that young Jonah himself picks up a gun and aims it at his father. This chapter was incredibly powerful, and written perfectly. I really, honestly felt terrible for Jonah and his mother…but I also felt a huge stab of pity for Woodson.
The next chapter shows Jonah’s mom leaving him, and him chasing after her in a scene that almost made me tear up.
We learn, then, that Woodson gave up his son to the Apache in order to pay a toll. Jonah formed a rivalry with Noh-Tante, who ends up betraying Hex. So Hex joins the South during the Civil War and ends up caught, partially scarred, and sent down-river. He returns to the Apache, fights Noh-Tante, and gets his scar.
It ends with Jonah speaking to Amadeus, Tallulah, and some dude I don’t know because I haven’t read issue #12 yet. So I skipped it, until later. The art style completely changed at this part, but it’s not credited as being anyone else…so I’m assuming that’s also Moritat? If so, that’s impressive. I like the style, and I wouldn’t be sad if the book changed to that ever. But I do like the signature Moritat look we’ve seen so far.
All Star Western #0, the verdict: A very, very good telling of Jonah’s story. Remember, I’m a guy who never liked this character, and never saw the appeal. I just didn’t get it. Plus I’m not a huge fan of Westerns as a genre (which is funny, because I love Firefly, a space-Western). So for me to have actually felt something big reading the story of Jonah’s life means that it resonated with me. I definitely give all the credit for that to Jimmy and Justin, they’ve been striking gold with each issue thanks to their incredible writing. Notice something cool about this issue? We never find out what happened to Woodson. So perhaps he’ll show up in the series proper some day.
(Photo Source: DC Comics)