Friday, April 03, 2015

Booknote: All-Star Western, Volume 1

Jimmy Palmiotti, All-Star Western, Volume 1: Guns and Gotham. New York; DC Comics, 2012. ISBN: 9781401238513. 

Genre: graphic novels and comics
Subgenre: Western
Format: Print. Trade paperback.
Source: My local public library

I have to say that I enjoyed this one. For one, reading a Western tale was a refreshing alternative to the usual superhero comic. This particular volume is also interesting because it looks back at Gotham City in the late 1800s just as the West is expanding while the city is growing (and turning more corrupt in the process). For fans, they get to see the roots of Batman's Gotham taking shape, at least as they are laid out in DC's The New 52.

In this tale, notorious bounty hunter Jonah Hex must team  up with Doctor Amadeus Arkham, physician and psychologist (I think back then he would have been called an alienist) to capture the Gotham Butcher. The Gotham Butcher is a serial killer targeting prostitutes, so naturally the case is not a high priority for the police. Arkham and Hex go on to discover there is a much deeper conspiracy at play. An entertaining element in the work is the interaction between the violent action man Hex and the intellectual and less physical Arkham. Arkam also tries to constantly psychoanalyze Hex, a task at which he fails at every attempt.

The volume also features another story with Hex and Arkham. this time, they confront men running a child labor ring under the city. In addition, we also get two short stories featuring El Diablo and the Barbary Ghost. The extra stories are not related to the main story, but they are nice additions to the volume.

Overall, I think this is one of the better entries in The New 52 reboot from DC. If western tales are not usually  your thing, I would urge readers to give it a try. It is a good blend of action and suspense with enough for fans and new readers alike. Libraries with graphic novel collections will want to add this one to their holdings.  I will certainly look for the next volume. This volume covers issues 1-6 of the comic book. As it was one I really liked, I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

No comments: