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All-Star Western #15 - Strange Medicine; Tomahawk, Part Three: Massacre Review

3

Hyde meets Jonah Hex in the latest issue of ALL-Star.

The Good

It's great to see the creative team of this series draw from popular fiction to create an interesting story. In this issue we see Jonah Hex face off against Mr. Hyde, the dark side of a man named Reggie. The story picks up where readers left off, with Amadeus Arkham in the clutches of Mr. Hyde who has poisoned him and revealed Arkham's "inner persona." We don't get much of that at the start of the issue since the story quickly shifts to a fight between Jonah Hex and Hyde, but we do get more of Arkham's inner demons later in the issue when the two engage in a fight.

Although the majority of this issue is one big fight, I do think that Arkham provided some sort of comic relief in certain scenes. If you read the issue then you might already know what I am referring to.

There were some great panels in this issue where I felt Moritat was really exploring the use of abstract panels, that was definitely evident in the two-page spread where Hex is falling through a window and again towards the end of the story where Hyde is creating more of his potion. These were the highlights of the art in this issue.

The Bad

Most of this issue is one big fight, there isn't a whole lot of plot development and push in this story. The readers aren't really given a better idea of who Hyde is and what his motives are beyond the fact that he is clearly insane. I think a lot more could have been said about the character; I would have liked to have seen the writers of this series explore Hyde's motives and what he's after.

Some of the dialogue was really cliche. For example, the scene where Hyde reveals to Arkham what his expectations were of him after he was poisoned felt a little bit cliche and as though Hyde were playing the part of the typical "bad guy." I think this scene and some of the dialogue could have been a bit better.

Although there were some great, creative panels in this issue (which I mentioned above), there was definitely room for improvement elsewhere. A lot of the backgrounds in this comic felt empty and not detailed enough.

The Verdict

In issue #14 where readers are introduced to Hyde we get the set-up for an interesting story. Issue #15, however, falls a little bit flat. Although Moritat does play around with the panel layout on some of the pages in this issue, he does leave some of the backdrops of certain scenes blank, which is disappointing. And while the previous issue did a great job of setting up story, characters and motives, this one is all about a big brawl. This is fine, sometimes, as long as there is a point to all of the fighting. While the point of why Hex is fighting Hyde is made, I think we spend a bit too much time on that and I would have liked to have seen the story pushed a bit further.

6 Comments
Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Excited to read this.

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Posted by lifeboy

One big fight actually sounds good for one issue.

Posted by bladewolf

Just so you know, Reggie was Jekyll's servant who died, Mr. Hyde is an aspect of Jekyll (who's first name is Henry). One an early page, Hyde even notes that he ate Reggie. I'm guessing you won't read this comment, Babs, but please try to fact check your info.

Edited by Sampsman

I agree with bladewolf - it would be helpful to have someone review this book who actually had a general idea of the plot and direction of the arc. Don't get me wrong, I really like Babs! I just think perhaps a reviewer who had a little more knowledge of the storyline would be helpful.

Personally, I was blown away by this issue.

Most of the time Hex is dishing out the pain, but this time he was definitely on the receiving end (First time in a long time a comic book made me wince - broken leg - ouch!). As for the supposed "lack of plot development," I would disagree, considering at the end of last issue the reader has no idea what Hyde plans to do with Dr. Arkham. It is only in the first pages of this issue that his motive becomes clear that he wants to force Arkham to ingest his potion. And by the end of the issue, we have more insight into the motive of Hyde's visit to Gotham (chaos!) and are also left wondering how long Arkham's stay in the Asylum will be. All in all, a great read and I give it four stars, maybe even five. Love the incorporation of Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde into the world of Jonah Hex. Can't wait to read the next issue.
Posted by Reignmaker

This was actually a solid issue. Deserving a 4 out of 5.

Posted by Green ankh

i am on the fence with this title. I really like Hex and how he is used. Where i don't get every issue of All-Star i always enjoy it when i do. But it just isn't....i don't know ..just not enough to make me want to get it each month. I think i dislike the constant link to modern DCU. But then with the 2006 JH title i really like the issues i read as well but ever commited to the series. Either way i am glad DC is running non superhero books. Keeping Westerns and war books alive is important to me.