All-Star Western 26

all-star western 26

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing All-Star Western 26, originally released December 31st, 2013.

Drew: I’ve always been suspicious of happy endings. Not that I’m a grump or a pessimist (or, not just because I’m a grump and a pessimist), just that I think the tendency to wrap stories up with a nice bow tends to make them same-y. Knowing everything will work out in the end robs stories of most of their drama, and more importantly, they tend to ring false. Still, there’s something undeniably alluring about a happy ending — a gentle reassurance that the characters will be okay specifically, and that things tend to work out generally. It’s incredibly tricky to acknowledge both aspects of the happy ending, but Alan Moore’s classic “For the Man Who Has Everything” does it beautifully by presenting (and ultimately rejecting) a classic “what if” scenario. Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti aim to tap that same magic in All-Star Western 26, but as is the case with most comparisons to Moore, they come up just a little short. Continue reading

All-Star Western 14

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing All-Star Western 14, originally released November 28th, 2012.

Taylor: The Strange Tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, originally written in 1886, has interested readers and writers alike continuously since it’s initial publication over 100 years ago. What perhaps gives the tale its enduring legacy is its exploration into the contradictory nature of mankind itself, both in action as a whole and on an individual level. While humans have done great things, like sending man to the Moon and ending the Cold War, they have also committed countless atrocities against each other. On an individual level a person may be kind to you one day and a jerk the next. All of this is part of the human experience and while it’s sometimes paradoxical and counterproductive to behave in such ways, it would seem that we just can’t help ourselves and they are here to stay. And while this aspect of humanity certainly makes for the stuff of great stories and philosophical inspection, it’s not something I appreciate in my comics. All-Star Western 14 is an exercise in this duality, being at times fun and at others trying, but ultimately giving us something to look forward to.

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All-Star Western 13

Alternating Currents: All-Star Western 13, Taylor and DrewToday, Taylor and Drew are discussing the All-Star Western 13, originally released October 24th, 2012.

Taylor: I enjoy professional basketball. It’s fast paced, fun, full of dunks, trick shots, and some of the most gifted athletes on the face of the planet. With that being said, you would think that every game of basketball would be an amazing show worth watching every second it’s on. However, we can’t disregard the fact that these are professional basketball players who, whether we like to acknowledge it or not, don’t enjoy every game they play. It’s their job and sometimes they take the floor with their sole purpose being to win a basketball game and cash a check, regardless of how entertaining it is for the fans. Commentators often call this a “workman-like approach,” a phrase which also aptly describes All-Star Western 13. Continue reading

All-Star Western 12

Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing the All-Star Western 12, originally released August 22nd, 2012.

Patrick: One of the problems with dealing with 1890s Gotham City is that you know what that poor town has in store for it in the next 100+ years. It’s actually the same problem that plagues narratives about modern Gotham – nothing is every going to solve that city’s problems. Not Batman, not the GCPD, not Jonah Hex… oh wait a minute. Issue 12 actually closes a full year worth of stories, comprised of several multi-issue arcs. And the most surprising thing is that our heroes are successful. It’s almost unprecedented in this town, but the Religion is Crime is dealt a serious blow. Also unprecedented, Hex has developed an affinity for Gotham City and Amadeus Arkham.  Continue reading

All-Star Western 11

Today, Peter and Patrick are discussing the All-Star Western 11, originally released July 25th, 2012.

Peter: All-Star Western has really embraced its role as a historic book. Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey have taken it upon themselves to not only tell incredible western tales, but to weave them into the greater DC Universe, even if they take place centuries before Bruce Wayne put on the cowl, or Superman strapped on the cape. Two of Gotham’s most notorious criminal organizations are gearing up to collide — of course Jonah Hex finds himself in the middle of it all. Continue reading

All-Star Western 10

Today, Drew and Peter are discussing the All-Star Western 10, originally released June 27th, 2012.

Drew: The Night of the Owls is an interesting case study in ways a title can approach a crossover event. Some books treated their involvement as a one-off, allowing maximum flexibility for their own stories before and after the event. Others focused a bit more on set-up, getting their heroes to Gotham or establishing the stakes for their characters, but pretty much treated the event as the conclusion of their involvement with the Owls. Sure, Batman still has some investigating to do, but pretty much all of the other titles are on to new conflicts, new villains, and new stories. All-Star Western, on the other hand, has upped the ante, featuring more owls than its ostensible NotO issue. The result is a portrait of 1880’s Gotham as a battleground between the Owls, the Religion of Crime, and the wealthy altruists just trying to do the right thing. Continue reading