I don't know what it is about writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti when working with Jonah Hex, but they can do no wrong. As a Hex fan, there's certain things you want to see and certain things you expect. When you first hear about Jonah Hex going to the future or teaming up with Constantine, or even Swamp Thing for that matter, your first thought is "they've gone too far." However, Gray and Palmiotti make the weird and bizarre really work. Jonah Hex always feel like Jonah Hex, even if he's teamed up battling a demon.
As for Hex being in the present, it actually works even better when the mystic side of things are thrown into the mix. It's a nice compliment, since a cowboy shooting up people in modern times can only last so long before Johnny Law comes down hard on you. This book is a ton of fun, and this issue really shows it through some of the dialogue, mainly from Constantine. The guy loves his ladies, and the ladies love him, and his accent.
There was one particular line in this issue that, as a fan of PREACHER, made me giggle with anticipation. Don't get too excited though, I'm most likely jumping to conclusions and looking too far into one piece of dialogue. There's some mysticism behind who and what Jonah Hex is. Here (spoilers), Constantine thinks Hex has some sort of guardian angel protecting him. Constantine calls Hex a "sainted killer." That's the line I'm gushing over. Again, I'm probably jumping to conclusions, but it gets me thinking. There's a lot of Vertigo elements already in this book. Maybe we'll see another? Here's to hoping! Gray and Palmiotti add another fantastic level to this character. He's a lot more than just a rough and tumble bounty hunter.
One of my favorite things about this series is the art of Moritat. He has a more gritty style that really fits the character and the book. There's one page here that blew me away though. There's a two page spread that gives the readers a glimpse into Hex's past. We see the faces and things within Hex's life, and a brilliant looking face of Hex on the left side.
I was a bit hesitant about Swamp Thing in this issue, but it worked out great. This creative team nails it every issue.
ALL STAR WESTERN is quite possibly the most underrated book at DC comics. Palmiotti and Gray have been doing great things with this character for almost 100 issues (including their pre-52 run), and while the addition of mysticism and Hex being in the present may be out of reader's comfort zone, it works better than you can imagine. I love the direction the book is taking, and you will took. Overall, I highly recommend this issue.