‘All-Star Western’ #5 left bounty hunter Jonah Hex and his unlikely partner, Doctor Amadeus Arkham, trapped in a cave beneath Gotham City. Hounded by a cannibalistic tribe of natives and facing monstrous subterranean creatures, all will be lost if the pair can’t find their way back to the surface.

As the issue opens, Hex is facing off against the enormous prehistoric bat that attacked at the finale of last issue. The vicious killer makes short work of the flying rodent. His victory earns him the respect of the cannibal tribe and the natives lead Hex and Arkham back to an opening to the surface. Back on the surface, Hex and Arkham meet up with Alan and Catherine Wayne, the ancestors of Gotham’s current protector… the Batman! After Hex gets a quick breath, he’s back on track to collect his bounty by saving Thurston Moody’s son from a ring of child kidnappers. With the Gotham Police in tow, Hex raids the villains’ lair. As the tide begins to turn to the law’s favor, Hex makes a discovery that the case may not be all that it seems.

As the story closes, Hex leaves Gotham City for New Orleans in search of the money that he is owed.

The backup story this issue is the finale to the tale of the Barbary Ghost. The ghost has finally tracked down Bo Long, the man who killed most of her family. In the ensuing firefight, Bo flees… but quickly learns that no one can escape the vengeance of the Ghost.

Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti are two of the most overlooked writers in all of comics. Because the pair tend to lean towards western or war comics, readers who like superheroes and mutants, usually don’t give them a look. Of course, this is a loss to those readers since the Gray/Palmiotti machine continues to churn out some of the best and most exciting characters in DC’s New 52. Before DC’s relaunch, the pair wrote for the ‘Jonah Hex’ series. With ‘All-Star Western’, they’ve taken the opportunity to flesh out a lot of the great western characters from DC Comics’ long history. Next issue, Jonah Hex will be meeting up with the romantic duo of Nighthawk and Cinnamon in an opening to a new story arc.

I feel like I say this every other issue of ‘All-Star Western’, but I can’t recommend this book enough. Even if you’re usually not a fan of western tales, I still recommend giving this title a shot. You might just change your view.

Verdict: Buy

Cover by LADRONN