Jonah Hex isn’t locked in with you; you’re locked in with Jonah Hex
This series has gone through its ups and downs, but through its high points the pattern seems to be the same. Put Jonah Hex in a story that affects the entire DCU and you get spectacular results. This month Palmiotti and Gray have Hex in modern Gotham rampaging through its most dangerous landmark, Arkham Asylum.
ASW #22 almost reads like an Elseworlds story, two characters that could never meet in normal continuity are put on a collision course rampant with Easter eggs. Jonah Hex is trapped as Arkham’s newest patient. Through the course of psychiatric evaluation on Hex, Dr. Jeremiah Arkham’s own psyche begins to unravel as he learns secrets of his family’s torrid past. On the brink of unraveling, he seeks the aid of Bruce Wayne to verify some of Jonah’s ramblings, which brings the Batman to get involved. As Hex makes a daring escape, with Dr. Arkham hostage, he finds himself in the middle of a battle between the GCPD and the group from The Dark Knight Returns known as The Mutants.
Palmiotti and Gray script a very true to Hex rampage through Arkham Asylum. It’s violent, gritty, and full of backhanded anti-smoking messages. The inclusion of Batman feels organic and seems like a proper vehicle to include some Wayne family history outside of the main Batman book. One fault I’ve noticed in a lot of DC books this week is the abrupt ending that befalls them. Seems like right as the real fight is getting started we hit the last page of the book. You can almost see a freeze frame and hear a voice say “tune in next week…”
Moritat’s art adjust more for the modern time Hex is currently stuck in this issue. Much of the clutter of the previous issue is reduced in favor simple architectures. Where Moritat shines is his framing of action sequences. They make every blow Hex lands in a fight feel meaty. One part of this team that doesn’t get enough credit is colorist Mike Atiyeh. His colors of the modern Gotham skyline feel moody but bright like a dark metropolitan city should feel.
Overall the All Star Western team has put together another fun and solid outing. Though by now we should be getting more of a feel for how Hex is going to find Booster and get back to his time. It doesn’t totally derail the fun we’re having reading Hex’s man out of time adventure.
8 out of 10 Fantastic. We need more sense of the overall story but it doesn’t take much away from the issue-to-issue enjoyment of Hex latest arc.