Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: allstarwestern, DCNew52, jimmypalmiotti, justingray, moritat
I am so into dark and twisted westerns right now its unreal. I watch The Proposition about once a fortnight, I have Tom Jones’ latest album on my iPod and I’ve even been known to suffer through Jonah Hex, the movie. I like cowboys and I like the X-Files, I like non-mainstream comic book art and I like smoking and drinking whiskey. I really should be all over All Star Western and buying extra copies so I can wallpaper my bedroom. I’m not quite there yet.
ASW has become part of the DC Reboot, building on the popularity of the aforementioned items of popular culture, Tom Jones excluded. It began in 1951, running for 10 years, and containing characters created by the legendary Carmine Infantino. It had a second spell in 1970 spanning 11 issues and introducing Jonah Hex. Hex is one of those lucky fellows who, along with facial disfigurement has enduring popularity, hence him starring in this, the third turn out for All Star Western.
ASW is written by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti who have collaborated previously on Hex. After a reboot, if you get to write a character you’ve already written you should be considered the clear winner for this commission, and when considered alongside the wealth of talent in that DC typing pool, that’s saying something. Do I think this book has been written to its potential? No. Do I think it is an enjoyable and interesting story? Yes.
This book has a multitude of luxury items that should make it stand head and shoulders above other comic offerings, particularly those by DC. An extremely interesting and conceivably fashionable main character, an historic setting and an element of the paranormal which should give room to as much artistic licence as desired. In my opinion, the writers seem to play a little too much on stereotypes, with elements of Holmes & Watson sneaking through.
Art is provided by MORITAT whose real name is Justin Norman. Couldn’t find out too much about this guy (I only looked online for 5 minutes, don’t sue me) but I did check out his deviant art page (linked below – some really excellent pieces in his gallery). His top piece though, in my opinion is the ASW #1 cover which I think is an astounding piece of work and a total belter of a cover. Might even be contended for best cover so far in the DCnew52.
Usually I love it when a book’s interior artist does the cover. It’s like they get a chance to show off a little bit. With ASW though, I feel a little let down when I look at the cover vs. the interior. It starts off promising enough, with some cool Victorian steam-punk-esque city scapes and lovely sepia toned colour washes. It’s glaringly digital, but soon appears to be a hurried affair. Line work and colour as the book progresses seem to hold less and less of an attraction for the artist and it appears as if less and less care is taken to deliver the product. I might be wrong here, MORITAT might be trying to give the book a manga feel, and make an emotional comment on the story via the colours chosen at a particular point. If that’s the case I’m just not getting it yet.
Speaking of the art, it feels like a book of two halves, the first being the most enjoyable. I’m hoping that, as the book progresses, I’ll see a greater cementing of style and a little more artistic continuity. The same goes for the writing. I think the writers have the making of an excellent and complex story and I hope it will improve in issue #2. I know a whole lot of people are completely loving ASW and can’t sing its praises highly enough, so this might just be a case of personal choice. I’ll be sticking around for issue #2 as I ‘should’ love this book, however if I’m not hooked by then it will be good bye from me.
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