It's fantastic to see Jonah Hex and Tallulah teamed up again. The book opens with quite the bang and Jonah and Tallulah get into an old fashion bar room fight. Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray do a fantastic job at grabbing the reader's attention and never letting go. As the story progresses, we learn that someone has been going on a killing spree, using Hex's "good" name.
What moves this book along so well, the main story and the back-up, is the dialogue. It's incredibly smooth and natural, even in some more awkward scenes where Tallulah just wants to be called a delicate flower. The writing team has been working with this character for over 100 issues, so they truly have his voice down, as well as the supporting characters. There's great word usage and words are spelled a certain way to convey the accent each character has. It's fantastic stuff.
While I'm not the biggest fan of the Madame.44 story, I do really like Madame.44. Gray and Palmiotti have a way with making characters extremely cool and completely bad ass. A lot of this goes back to the dialogue. However, a good chunk of how awesome this character is goes to artist Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, with Michael Atiyeh on colors. Garcia-Lopez does a phenomenal job with facial work, and the color work from Atiyeh keeps the whole book in the same tone. Sure, the pencils are different between the two stories, but the colors are the same, giving the whole issue a nice consistency.
ALL STAR WESTERN always does well with their artists. Both Moritat and Staz Johnson really give this book a fantastic feel and look. Here, Staz Johnson does some great art within the opening action sequences, giving the book a very gritty feel. His art fits this book so naturally and more than anything, it's not a real contemporary and makes it feel like an older DC Western book, which just makes this book so much better.
The Madame.44 story is a bit hard to swallow. On occasion, ALL STAR WESTERN does some very non-western things, which is fine, but Madame.44 travelling to another planet, which is also very much a wild west in its own right, didn't grab me the same way the other story did. The character is fantastic, but the story falls a bit flat. It's not badly written, at all. It just doesn't have that same impact as the opening story.
This is another case where readers will really want more of the Jonah Hex story, presented in the first half of the book, but it's cut short to fit in the back-up.
ALL STAR WESTERN is sadly wrapping up, but it's going out in style. This is and has been a fantastic series with its own style and tone that separates it from the rest of the DCU. The current story line is incredibly interesting and fans won't be able to wait to see how it plays out. Madame.44, from the back-up story, is a really cool character, but the overall story is just ok. However, this is, overall, an exceptional book and series and I highly recommend it, especially if you love westerns.