In ‘All-Star Western’ #7, Jonah Hex, in an effort to track down the terrorist cell known only as the August 7, had entered an underground fighting tournament. There, in the dust and blood of the arena, Hex met his first member of the 7 known only as Z.C. Branke… and it wasn’t exactly what he expected.

As this issue opens, Hex’s partner Amadeus Arkham is partaking of the… er… hospitality of some asian ladies in a local opium den. Meanwhile Nighthawk and Cinnamon are busy trying to track down other members of the August 7. In the arena, Hex is getting his ugly butt handed to him by Z.C. (that’s her on the cover).  When Hex turns the tables on Z.C. and gets a little rough, she decides that she likes the rough and tumble bounty hunter. Hex, on the other hand, thinks that Z.C. is a bit of a psycho. Either way, he’s earned the respect of a member of the 7 and plans to go undercover in their ranks.

Back at Nighthawk and Cinnamon’s place, Hex tells them that he’s got an in with the August 7. However, the catch (and there’s always a catch) is that the 7 wants Hex to blow up a boat full of possibly innocent civilians. Hex intends to go through with it, despite the duo’s misgivings. It seems that maybe they will regret brining such a single minded man as Hex into their operation. Meanwhile Arkham gets into trouble with the law of New Orleans when the authorities raid the opium house. Before the issue is out, Hex and Arkham have a run in with all the members of the August 7… and not in a way that they’d like.

After the main story, there is the continuation of the origin tale of Nighthawk and Cinnamon. The pair are still trapped in a cave and looking for a way out. Cinnamon details some of her backstory of how her father was killed and she was trained to fight by a mysterious man named Ichi (who Nighthawk keeps calling “Itchy”). On their way to the surface, the pair come across a buried Mayan tomb where they “borrow” their magical necklaces. Of course, at this point, they don’t realize that they’re magical… but I’m sure they’ll find out next issue!

The main story is moving along nicely. And, even though only a few of their members have been fleshed out much, I’m loving the August 7 as villains. I hope that Hex doesn’t gun them all down and we get to see more of them in this series as recurring antagonists. On a side note, with next issue tying into the ‘Court of Owls’ cross-over with DC’s Bat-titles, I’m not sure how that’s going to work based on where this issue ended. I hope that the Owl stuff isn’t shoehorned into a great arc in this title just to make it tie in with the Batman universe.

The backup story is good but it’s nowhere near as interesting as the ‘Barbary Ghost’ tale that preceded it. Still, it’s fun to see DC allowing writers Gray and Palmiotti to explore these great western characters and create a few new ones of their own.

Verdict: Buy