All-Star Western 19

Alternating Currents: All-Star Western 19, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing All-Star Western 19, originally released April 24th, 2013.

Drew: Time travel does weird things to stories. Leaving aside whatever chronology wankery that usually goes along with it, time travel stories actually require pretty specific things of their characters. If they are going to the past, for example, they must not know history that well (or events have to play out in a way different from what they learned). Sure, having a character aware of the hands of fate sounds good, but knowing everything before it happens sure sounds boring. Making the time traveler relatively unaware allows for all kinds of neat dramatic irony — we know how things play out even if the characters don’t. This is especially true of historical events we might recognize, but it’s also true of smaller period details. We laugh when Bill and Ted high-five Napoleon, or when Marty McFly plays Johnny B. Goode because we understand that that’s not how someone from that time period would behave. It’s this smaller-scale dramatic irony that permeates All-Star Western 19, as Jonah Hex runs into a time-displaced Booster Gold. Continue reading

All-Star Western 18

all-star western 18

Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing All-Star Western 18, originally released March 27th, 2013.

Patrick: You could make the argument that All-Star Western is anti-intellectual. All of the more affluent and educated residents of 1890s Gotham City are ineffectual or massively corrupt. The possible sole exception to this rule is Amadeus Arkham, but he is routinely upstaged by his savage brute of a partner. Even when you think “oh, now it’s time for Arkham to use science or some detective work,” it’s Hex’ anecdotal crime solvery that saves the day. And if we apply a little bit of outside information, we know that Arkham will eventually turn his focus back to his true passion — the real focus of his lifetime of study — and found a hospital for the criminally insane. Arkham Asylum is a failure, a permanent stain on his family name. This is the turn of the century we’re talking about here, so why is every progressive thinker made out to be evil, a dandy, or both? Continue reading

All-Star Western 17

Alternating Currents: All-Star Western 17, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing All-Star Western 17, originally released February 27th, 2013.

Drew: For all of the subtle differences fans can talk about in DC’s current publishing lineup, the fact is: they publish A LOT of superhero comics. A simple lack of capes and tights is enough to make a title like All-Star Western stand out, but writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti aren’t content to rest on those laurels. Indeed, recent issues have cribbed stylistic elements form the likes of parlor dramas and Victorian novellas, in addition to the old Westerns that inspired the characters in the first place, all while seamlessly folding in elements of DC’s own fictional universe. It’s a tonal chameleon, taking on whatever style best fits the material at hand. Continue reading

All Star Western 16

all-star western 16

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing All Star Western 16, originally released January 30th, 2013.

Taylor: There is a certain beauty to be had in simplicity. In a culture that tends to think more is better, simplicity has become something of a rarity that is all too infrequently encountered in our everyday life. However, even though American culture tends to favor the louder and busier aesthetic, there are signs  that the simple and austere are gaining favor. Japanese aesthetics, known for their Spartan feel, and Scandinavian aesthetics alike are ever gaining popularity in America. The signs of this change in the wind are more pervasive than we might at first believe. Nearly every person who has a single ounce of nerd running in their veins is familiar with the minimalist renderings of famous movie posters. Further, and on an even broader scale, the design of most Apple products is nothing short of a minimalistic and simple genius. But what about comic books, are they too moving toward a simpler feel? Do they believe that sometimes less truly is more? If All Star Western 16 is any indication, then the comic book world truly has embraced this motif. But that then raises the question, when put into practice is simplicity a good thing for comic books?

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All-Star Western 4-6

Today, Peter and Drew are discussing All-Star Western 4-6, originally released December 28th, 2011, January 25th, 2012, and February 22nd, 2012.

Peter: As we delve farther into the story of Jonah Hex and the 1880s, it has become apparent that this book is on a mission. What it is exactly, I’m not sure. However, it is clear as day that writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have a clear vision for All-Star Western, and how to make this book play a greater role in the greater DCnU. Continue reading

All-Star Western 1-3

Today, Peter and Drew are discussing All-Star Western 1-3, originally released September 28th,  October 26th, and November 23rd, 2011.

Peter: DC took a couple of major leaps with the New 52 in terms of character development and took a few chances as well. Those chances were, of course giving several lesser used and known characters their own books; Mr. Terrific, Hawk and Dove, Static Shock, etc. All-Star Western is probably the most ambitious of these books, and I firmly believe this book is a ‘high-risk, high-reward’ book for DC. Continue reading