crimsontempest's All-Star Western #19 - Panning for Gold; The Master Gunfighter review

Together Again For The First Time

In October of 2007, Booster Gold ended up in the Old West, as shown in the pages of Booster Gold #3 by Geoff Johns and Dan Jurgens. Now, fast forward 5 and a half years later, Booster finds himself in the Old West again, but with a series of murders that have caught the eye of Jonah Hex. Will this chronologically odd couple get along and find the murderers? Will Booster get shitfaced drunk again as he did back in his own series?

Saddle up, folks, because it's time to review with gusto; the 19th issue of All-Star Western.

The story begins in the cover of the issue, in the same vein that the first incarnation of the Secret Six were introduced in the first volume of Action Comics, with Booster pointing a revolver at Jonah's face. Unamused, Hex explains to Booster that he is looking to kill the Clem Hootkins Gang, on account that they're wanted dead, and that a bounty has been placed on Hootkins' head. The issue then showcases the savagery of the Clem Hootkins Gang, as they ransack a town that's in their horizon, while fleshing out the unique personalities that embody this gang. The issue then further demonstrates how this gang happens to be a mutual enemy of both Jonah and Booster, in dramatic fashion. As for Booster getting drunk off his ass, it's best to read the issue to find out. And to further the appeal of this book, a back-up short featuring a new member of the 19th Century Stormwatch is added as a pleasant bonus.

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have done a masterful job of making Booster Gold's presence in the Old West work. The banter between Hex and Gold was sharp, with clear distinctions between the time traveler and the battle-scarred bounty hunter. The Clem Hootkins Gang, while their presence was brief, they made their presence felt, which further added a legit reason to see a clash between the gang and the chronologically misplaced duo. Booster's dialogue when he encounters the carnage, was odd, but it doesn't lessen the enjoyment of reading the comic. The story's ending was both funny, and it provided a great way for the next issue to continue the pace of the story placed in this comic. The backup story was good, but not necessarily gripping, due to the backup's modest tone in the story, despite the conflict the Master Gunfighter had to endure with shooting werewolves. All in all, the 19th Century Stormwatch has something special up its sleeve, and it bears to keep an eye on future backups featuring this group.

Moritat's pencils do continued wonders in this book, without skipping a beat on depicting the unforgiving nature of the West, the determination in keeping a town safe shown by Booster Gold, and he definitely does not falter in showing the menacing nature of Jonah Hex, even when he's not shooting up outlaws in this issue. Andre Szymanowicz's colors help add a tone to Moritat's already impressive and gritty art. Staz Johnson's art and Rob Schwager's colors give the backup feature its own alluring beauty, with the pages emitting a style that can be easily confused with the art of the great Francesco Francavilla, at first glance. The art team in the backup does a good job of transitioning from a run of the mill night to a sudden action/horror experience involving werewolves. A panel showing three werewolves dressed in women's clothing adds a hint of humor, due to its loose reference of the Big Bad Wolf using this guise to trick the Red Riding Hood. All in all, the art teams on this book stood up and delivered in spades.

If there's one thing All-Star Western #19 proves, it's that not even the complicated concept of time travel can get in the way of depicting a great story. Palmiotti and Gray effortlessly weaved an opening act that has the potential to completely sweep the DC Universe off its feet. And unlike Booster's first meeting with Jonah Hex, this will not be limited to one issue, which enriches the meeting, while adding importance to this pair of time-crossed heroes. For a month that was supposed to be full of WTF moments, All-Star Western simply takes the cake. It's a solid jump-on point, as well, if you're worried about buying previous issues. This issue must be enjoyed and read at your leisure.

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