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All-Star Western #11 - The War of Lords and Owls, Part Two; The Haunted Highwayman, Part 1 of 2 Review4
by Sara 'Babs' Lima on
Tallulah Black and Jonah Hex are back to back in a fight against the Talon and the Court of Owls in the latest issue of ALL-STAR WESTERN.
I absolutely love Tallulah Black, and I just can't say that enough. She's this untamable beast of a character; reckless, sexy, aggressive, blunt and just completely unique. Tallulah is unlike any other female character in the DC Universe, and that's a big reason why I love her. I think that integrating her into this series was a really smart move, since she is such an important character in Jonah Hex's universe. I feel like she's really underrated as an interesting character who can hold her own and felt that the creative team really did her character justice in this issue. I love the interactions between Hex and Tallulah, I think they are both interesting characters and it's really a lot of fun seeing them work together. Overall a great issue if you have never read Tallulah before and are new to Jonah Hex comics. Great pacing, fantastically clever dialogue and an overall fun story.
My only real complaint with this issue has a lot less to do with the creative team and probably a lot more to do with the editorial mandates placed on the title. I understand that in order to make this universe feel really cohesive, it's good to integrate the Court of Owls story arc into ALL-STAR WESTERN. I understand why the decision to do that was made (so ALL-STAR doesn't seem so out of place with the rest of the DC books), but I just don't feel it was necessary. I think, for the most part, this book has been sort of held back by the fact that the creative team absolutely has to incorporate Amadeus Arkham and Gotham City so thatthose who read the title can associate it with what is happening in the present -- however, I think doing this holds the creative team back. In a sense it's great to see where Jonah Hex was back in the day, and what Gotham was like; but I don't think it's altogether necessary for the plot of the book. A big reason why I so enjoyed JONAH HEX as a series before the launch of the New 52 was because it felt disconnected from the rest of the DC Universe.
My biggest problem with tying this title in with The Court of Owls and incorporating the Talon into the story is that Arkham is made to sort of play detective. The thing that made the Talons and the Court so entiving in the Batman series was the fact that Batman, the master detective, didn't know about something that was right under his nose the whole time. Here we have Amadeus Arkham identifying and breaking down the relationship between the Talon and the Court and who the Court of Owls is, and that sort of takes away from what we saw in the Batman series.
Overall, I really liked this book. I think that the creative team did their best integrating the Court of Owls and the Talon into the story without making the whole concept seem forced and contrived. I think it's a well written issue with some absolutely beautiful art, and it's definitely worth reading. The dynamic between Hex and TAllulah is one that can be appreciated by new fans and old, and I think that incorporating her into this story was a smart move on the part of Jimmy and Justin. Moritat absolutely kills it on the interiors with his very rugged and rough pencils, which fits the mood and tone of the story perfectly (he's definitely the perfect artist for this title). If you haven't picked up ALL-STAR WESTERN yet, this isn't a bad place to start since it's an easy read, fits in with what we've been seeing in other DC titles (Court of Owls tie-in) and it does a great job introducing these new characters.