Comic Book Review: ‘All-Star Western’ #4

Posted Sunday, January 1st, 2012 07:00 pm GMT -4 by

At the end of ‘All-Star Western’ #3, bounty hunter Jonah Hex had parted ways with Amadeus Arkham after the pair had their run-in with the Religion of Crime. Hex was back on the trail of the Trapp brothers, the bounty that he originally came into Gotham to collect way back in the first issue. But, when this issue opens, Hex is back with Arkham in the sewers of Gotham. How did this come about? It seems that, while Hex was trying to round up the Trapps, he was approached by a rich Gothamite who wanted to hire him to track down a missing child. In his investigation into the boy’s disappearance, Hex crosses paths again with Arkham who immediately volunteers to accompany him… you know… in case the boy is in any need of medical assistance when he is found.

Hex and Arkham’s investigation lead them to the wharfs in south Gotham. It seems that the poor families that dwell in the south of town have been losing children in the hundreds for years, but since the kidnappings don’t involve the rich citizens in the North, nothing has been done about the situation… until now. Hex and Arkham head to the wharfs and the sewers beneath them but when they discover the truth about the missing children, things take a turn for the worse and Arkham ends up in a dire situation.

Like the past two issues, ‘All Star-Western’ #3 features a back-up tale featuring one of the lesser-known Western heroes of DC’s past. The last two tales, all penned by Jimmy Palmiotti who is handling the main story as well, featured El Diablo. This go ‘round, the back-up is titled ‘The Barbary Ghost’ and features (appropriately enough) the Ghost. This one is a pure tale of revenge since a Chinatown crime lord killed the family of Yanme. Unfortunately for the crime boss, Yanme is also the titular Ghost and she goes on a tirade of revenge. This story is only a few pages long and doesn’t get to the meat of things but it does make for an interesting aside from the main Hex/Arkham tale.

The art on the main story is again by Moritat. There’s not much I can say that I haven’t already said in my past few reviews. Moritat’s gritty style is the perfect for the weird western tales of Hex and Arkham in old Gotham. The backup story is illustrated by Phil Winslade. Winslade’s pencils are loose and dirty but not as grimy as Moritats. It gives a good look to the whispy character of The Ghost.

With this issue, DC has again put out a wonderful issue in the series that is probably one of the two sleepers of the New 52 (the other being ‘Animal Man’). If you aren’t already reading ‘All-Star Western’, do yourself a favor and go pick it up. You won’t regret it.

Verdict: Buy

ALL-STAR WESTERN #4
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art by MORITAT and PHIL WINSLADE
Cover by LADRONN