Last month in ‘All-Star Western’ #9, we were given the first look at Tallulah Black, Jonah Hex’s… er… friend. And, as is often the case with Ms. Black… her entrance to the New 52 universe was totally bad-ass! Even after the ‘Night of the Owls’ being shoe-horned into the Jonah Hex universe, Tallulah’s appearance was awesome enough to earn issue #9 a “buy” verdict. So did DC give us more of the Tallulah that we want or more ‘Night of the Owls’? Let’s take a look…

As this issue opens, Alan Wayne and Lucius Bennett are discussing the fate of Gotham City after Tallulah was unceremoniously whupped and tossed out of a window by Lucius’ bodyguard at the close of last issue. Wayne wants to protect a section of Gotham by building parks; Lucius wants to build a business sector. After a few veiled (and some not so much so) threats from Lucius, the conversation ends.

After being discovered injured outside of the building by Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham, Tallulah is taken back to Arkham’s home to recover. While she is unconscious, Hex explains to Arkham who Tallulah is before Hex leaves to have a discussion with Wayne.

While Hex is away, Tallulah awakens and the ensuing awkwardness makes for one of the best written and downright hilarious scenes in comics this week. Before Arkaham can manage to get a handle on Ms. Black, Hex arrives back from his talk and… get’s down to business.

After last issue, I was worried about ‘Night of the Owls’ intruding too much into the realm of ‘All-Star Western’ but writers Gray and Palmiotti put my mind at ease with this issue. The Court of Owls makes an appearance but it seems a much more fluid fit than the random Talon appearance last issue, and even goes on to give a reason that jarring Talon scene. On top of smoothing things out, the dialogue this issue is priceless! There are some of the most fun and awkward comedy lines I’ve read in a while. Now why didn’t DC let these guys write that ‘Jonah Hex’ movie that came out a while back? It would’ve totally rocked! Heck! They even managed to include a scene that harkens back to Grant Morrison’s ‘Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth’. How can you beat that?

The icing on the awesome cake this month is, as usual, art by Moritat. The man’s style is the spot-on perfect fit for the crazy western tales that Gray and Palmiotti are spinning in this title. Oddly, the more I look at Moritat’s work, I’d call it a strange cross between 70s western comic style and art nouveau. Either way… it’s gorgeous!

The backup tale this month is a one-shot story featuring Bat Lash, the suave gun-toting ladies man that, other than a few tales in the pre-New 52 ‘Jonah Hex’ series, I haven’t seen around since I read some old yard sale western comics as a kid. Bat (full name Bartholomew Aloysius Lash) is a man’s man. He rides into town, beds down whatever pretty face he takes a liking to, and then punches and shoots his way out… often taking down a criminal or two in the process. This story follows Bat as he’s being forced (at gunpoint) to wed a woman who he allegedly impregnated during one of his escapades. But, as he always seems to do, Bat finds a way out… but not before wreaking havoc along the way. The back up is a fun romp and, I love love that this title allows Gray and Palmiotti to introduce these classic DC western characters in their own light without having to tie them directly into Jonah Hex’s tales.

Verdict: Buy

Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Moritat
Backup story art by Jose Luis Garcia-Loopez
Cover by Ladronn