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 15

all-star western 15

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing All Star Western 15, originally released January 2nd, 2013.

Taylor: What evil lurks in the heart of men? The Shadow, among many others, has asked this question and it is a query which each of us must face every day. Not only do we ourselves struggle to do the right thing constantly but we are more than aware of those who commit acts which most would label evil. Whenever someone does something terrible to someone else, the question always arises of where the impulse to commit that act comes from. While some might believe in the inherent evilness of man it seems much more likely that these impulses come from sort of rationalization process. This process is something we are all capable of and leads us to question how pure our own motives are. If so called “evil” acts can be rationalized doesn’t that mean we are all equally capable of committing terrible acts ourselves only to explain them away in some way? So then, if we are all capable of being “evil,” who would we be or what would we do if we followed our immoral urges? And what would happen if a potion is created that can make a seemingly good man do bad things? The fifteenth issue of All Star Western delves into these questions while at the same time indulging in some serious action.

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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

All-Star Western 9

Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing All-Star Western 9 originally released May 23rd, 2012. This issue is part of the Night of the Owls crossover event. Click here for complete NotO coverage. 
Not caught up on All-Star Western? No problem! Get up to speed with our video Cram Session.

Patrick: Because it persistently employs back-up stories, All Star Western frequently feels like an anthology of stories from Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s vast 1880s wild west universe. Never mind that most of these stories have taken place in either Gotham City or New Orleans (which can’t even generously be referred to as ‘western’) or that the pair of Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham center every issues, All-Western is not bound to a single location or a single character. Issue number 9 (waving the Night of the Owls banner) takes this mission to heart and delivers four loosely (or not-so-loosely) connected tales.

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Cram Session: All-Star Western 1-8

It can be hard to keep up with all the comics you love. But it’s damn near impossible to keep up with all the comics you’re interested in.

Retcon Punch got you covered.

All Star Western may never actually venture west of the Mississippi River, but this is the only place where you can read about the adventures of heroes in DC Universe’s 19th century. Grizzled bounty hunter Jonah Hex teams up with aspiring psychoanalyst Amadeus Arkham, and the mis-matched pair has to fight crime together! More than a buddy cop story set in old timey Gotham, All Star is a reliably fun yarn anchored by two of the most interesting characters of the New 52. Catch up on their pre-Owls adventure here:

All-Star Western 8

Today, Peter and Drew are discussing the All-Star Western 8, originally released April 25th, 2012.

Peter: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have obviously become pretty close to mastering the character of Jonah Hex. They’ve held his reigns for so long that they know exactly how to write him. This new issue of of All-Star Western pushes Jonah dangerously close to the line between hero/anti-hero and villain. Hell, I’m not always sure which side of the line he normally falls on anyway.
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