the_mighty_monarch's All-Star Western #2 - Showdown at House Arkham; El Diablo, Part 1 review

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Jonah Hex: Gothic

The Good: There's a few things that set this cover apart from being the 'standard action cover' this almost is. One is the continued amazing contrast between the cover and interior art despite being the same artist, another is the skull logo in the background, hiding just out of clear sight behind the chaotic combat being unleashed by their very enemy, Jonah Hex.
The artwork manages to avoid being a one-hit wonder when it starts to add a little more detail and doesn't wash with full color as much. This doesn't hamper the issue, and it makes it a little easier to ease into.
The pacing of the beginning of the issue is absolutely phenomenal. Things are set with a full page, splash page, and another full page. It's high midnight in Gotham, and Hex is the god-king who wanders the west, precursor to Batman on his throne in hell. But Gotham isn't hell yet, the West is hell, and Jonah Hex is the Batman of the West. But hell is trying to become Gotham, and Hex won't allow hell to move without him. Thus he's shown in full glory in a single page panel. Then things get hectic. (Or perhaps Hex-tic? Sorry, I'll stop.) A dramatic shift from the solitary full page into an insane (but fun) multi-square layout made of TONS of squares. It all feels so wild and western, and it makes you panic like a true gunfight. And in the end Hex stands above the dead legion, a full page, god-king of Hell again.
Then we get into a nice set of 5, capping up the fallout of the first major battle of the hell war, and before the big transition, we see Hex focused on his hideousness, a hellish snarl as his eye spins into rage at those who would attempt to control hell without him. And then a roundtable, the lords of chaos, more literally the Religion of Crime, stands in a circle, discussing how to overthrow the king.
Finally the issue ends more where the story began. The Gotham Ripper led Hex to a full scale re-hellion. (I'M SORRY.) But the king of hell has the giant vulture's eye. It shows his eternal hellish gaze, but also allows him to see most clearly in chaos, that's why he investigated with brawls. Jonah Hex makes his best discoveries amidst carnage. And he's focused. He's found the current focal point of his uprising, and that's known as The Gotham Ripper.
There's a co-feature here that's decidedly more western, and it presents a lot of interesting plot points. The artwork feels older and more splintery, but that works to its advantage with it's Old West style.
 
The Bad: ....... eh?
 
In Conclusion: 5/5
Once again,Palmiotti, Gray, and Moritat (And now Bernet) have crafted one of the best western stories I've ever read. This issue had some absolutely phenomenal metaphors weaved into the panel layouts that reminds me of the heavy metaphors in Batman: Gotham (Something that having read would help make my review make the most sense.). This proves 100% that Jonah Hex is the Batman of the old west; but also that this series is a major focal point in DC history. Hell is the Old West in this series, but The Religion of Crime wants Gotham to be their hell, and we know they succeed one day, but we can't help but root for Jonah Hex, and wonder at how long he succeeds, and what EXACTLY happens when he eventually fails? Does he return to the hell he knows as it dries up? I don't know, but I DO know I'll be there to see it because this series is still extremely excellent.

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