REVIEW: All-Star Western #21

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Or – “A Man Destined To Be At The Center Of Time-Travel Shenanigans, No Matter The Universe…”

The JLU version of Jonah Hex had an iconic moment when he identified the power of Chronos as the result of time-travel.  When asked how he knew, he simply grunted, “Experience…”  Now that Booster Gold has arrived in his turf, Hex is once again forced to deal with future greenhorns and their baggage, and it’s probably not going to be an easy row to hoe.  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

SUMMARY

Pros
Artistically pretty…
Booster Gold in the house!
Cons

Time-travel Hex feels familiar.
Actually, ALL of it feels familiar.

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)


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AllStarWestern21CoverALL-STAR WESTERN #21
Writer: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Moritat
Colorist: Mike Atiyeh
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Mike Cotton
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in All- Star Western:  Jonah Hex’s life isn’t simple at the best of times, but now things are complicated even more by a new associate: Booster Gold!  How do ya suppose this will go?  (Bonus points if you chose “Badly.”)

IN MEDIA RES…

I admit it…  I have fallen behind on my reading of All-Star Western, as I have with much of the New 52.  So, while I was aware that Booster Gold appeared in this book during WTF gatefold cover month, I was NOT aware that he was still in the book.  As this issue opens, though, we find Jonah and Booster on the run from armed horsemen, as Booster inexpertly tries to drive their wagon away from their pursuers.  Also, apparently, Carrot Top is with them, for some reason.  As the Grey and Gold team races to escape their pursuers, though, he gets shot (annoying Jonah, as it costs him a bounty) and spooks their horses even more, causing Booster to drive right over a cliff!  Moritat’s art is pretty amazing throughout the chase, and most entertainingly, he has Booster wearing a coat over his uniform, which creates a collar reminiscent of Booster’s original (and much missed by me) 80s look.  Of course, things go downhill (you should excuse the expression) but before they can fall to their deaths, something triggers Booster to jump through time again, with Hex along for the ride!

THE CITY OF… THE FUTURE!!

Booster and Hex get separated in the Golden Meld timestream, leaving Hex to crash to Earth in a world not his own.  Arriving in an alley in modern-day Gotham City, Jonah encounters/guns down three gang members of the notorious Mutants gang from The Dark Knight Returns, only to get beaten down by the new Batwing and arrested for his deeds.  Interestingly, in shooting down criminals, he doesn’t do anything different than he’s always done, in this book and his own, but it still leaves him locked in Arkham Asylum for his crimes.  The second half of the book is dedicated to a tale of the 19th Century Stormwatch, which is clever enough, if a little bland.  The final joke, wherein Jenny Freedom (1875′s Century Baby, the equivalent of Jenny Sparks or Jenny Quantum) offers to take Doctor Thirteen’s virginity is probably the most entertaining bit, in a vaguely uncomfortable way.

THE BOTTOM LINE: SO, THE ‘DARK KNIGHT’ MUTANTS ARE PART OF REGULAR CONTINUITY, NOW?

All in all, it’s a slightly confusing issue for me, as I haven’t read anything of the new Batwing, I didn’t get the issue where Booster arrived in the past, and I haven’t read enough Batman to know if the new Gotham is really this bad of a hive of scum and villainy.  It’s a fine looking issue, and I enjoyed the reading of it, but it’s not a book that I expect I’ll be raving over in a week or three.  Moritat does very good work with the art here, and his horrifying Gotham cityscape is pretty excellent, but the Booster part of the story passed quickly, leaving Hex in a strange predicament that nonethless feels familiar.  Recent remarks by writer Palmiotti on the Twitter have me wondering about the safety of this book in the long term, which in turn makes me think that the modern crossover is a shot at higher sales.  All-Star Western #21 is a well-drawn but kind of predictable issue, one that rounds up to be slightly above average, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m a fan of the Jonah character, and hope that his adventures continue, though, future or past…

Rating: ★★★☆☆