Random Retrospective #30 – All Star Western #7

Like it or not, the New 52 rebooted all DC titles back in 2011, bringing to a premature end plenty of storylines and series that had life left in them. As annoying as that was, it did also allow for a bunch of new titles to launch, things that either hadn’t been done before or, like ALL STAR WESTERN hadn’t been around for some time. Under the guiding hands of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, this series showed the latest exploits of Jonah Hex, taking him out of the badlands of the Wild West and moving him over to the Gotham City of the late 1880s. There he gets involved in stopping a child slavery ring before this issue sees him and his erstwhile partner, Dr Amadeus Arkham, head to New Orleans to track down the man behind it.

There he meets up with Nighthawk and Cinnamon who recruit him to help take down a band of anarchists who are recklessly endangering children and civilians as they attempt to overthrow the city’s leaders. Hardly surprising, Hex takes some convincing.

With information from Nighthawk and Cinnamon, Hex infiltrates a fight club while the other two head out to hunt for the anarchists, giving an opportunity for a knowing nod to the reader:

Hex ends up taking part in the arena fight, knocking out his massive opponent quickly and easily before being challenged by the deceptive ZC Branke whom he’s already seen fight and defeat an even larger opponent than the one he’s just handled:

Having been a fan of Palmiotti and Gray’s writing on other series, I was glad I took a punt on this one when it was launched as part of the New 52 as it was consistently entertaining. Sadly the artist Moritat (whose work I first encountered on this title) didn’t hang around for the whole of the run.

100 Issues Ago April 2013

This month’s 100 Issues Ago post is . . .

This must have been the shortest time between DC releasing to the press the plans for an “event” and then cancelling it! Each of the main New 52 series this month was to be branded with the above logo and have a fold out cover which would reveal a guest star or shock surprise that would make you say “WTF!”

Despite the assumption of comics being just for kids having been thrown out decades before, the press and retailers still rounded on DC and non-ironically asked “WTF are you doing?” figuring that somewhere down the line a parent would have to explain what those letters meant to little Johnny or Janey. So DC ditched it as quickly as they could.

The fold out covers went ahead though and, for the titles I was getting, most of them made me go “meh” rather than the desired response.

For ALL-STAR WESTERN #19, the big reveal was that Booster Gold had time travelled and ended up hanging out with Jonah Hex:

And it worked – the series as a whole was enjoyable and having Booster appear wasn’t as jarring as it could have been.

Elsewhere, the Green Lantern titles were still running the Wrath of the First Lantern storyline which was enjoyable enough; EARTH-2 was introducing its new Dr Fate; and despite Dan Jurgens’s best efforts, FIRESTORM was limping towards its final issue.

The biggest shift, though, was with STORMWATCH where DC gave the title to Jim Starlin and allowed him to remove the current, established team, and replace them with one of his own. Some of the main characters would remain but they were different versions than the ones we’d been reading about the month before. It did not bode well for the title.

Outside of the 17 DC issues this month, it was just FURY MAX from Marvel; have to wait until 2014 before DC was challenged by independent titles in my collection.

Untold Tales #406 Captain Atom vs Hex

Time for a summer event, I think – “Timestorm” pitting past and present characters against each other. $100* if you can guess who’s behind it all (revealed next Friday!)

Or maybe it’s an excuse for me to not worry about finding fancy backgrounds for a few issues . . .

*That’s $100 in Monopoly money, okay?