Thursday, March 15, 2012

All Star Western #1

Jonah Hex in Gotham? Does that make this another Batman title?

As All-Star Western began, my first thought was, "Cool! An actual omniscient narrator that isn't a character in the story! And then on the third page, my hopes and dreams come crashing down around me!

The main character is the Narration Box talking about Jonah Hex.

Although when the next page introduces us to Amadeus Arkham, I assume he's the narrator and everything is instantly forgiven! He's been called in to a crime scene to help in the investigation. Not quite Gotham CSI. I think he's more a Criminal Minds type of guy. Officer Cromwell, the lead on the case, disapproves and makes it very well known with lots of shouting and denigrating Dr. Arkham. Just like police chiefs from the 20th Century! Oh, those silly guys never change! Officer Cromwell gets even more irate when Jonah Hex walks in the door! He's also been brought aboard to try to catch the guy who created the crime scene. They currently call him the Gotham Butcher and he leaves the word 'METUS' on the wall in the victim's blood. That's latin for 'fear'. My internet is currently out so I didn't even have to look that up!

Hey! Stop giving away my secrets!

Since Office Cromwell is absolutely bugfuck bothered by Doctor Arkham and Jonah Hex horning in on police territory, the Doctor suggests that he and Jonah conduct a private investigation. Jonah doesn't seem to be too happy about it but once his theory that the murderer is a working man conflicts with Arkham's theory that the man is affluent and educated, he seems to grudgingly accept the Doctor as his partner if only to prove him wrong.

The Gotham Butcher only kills whores and he's killed five so far. Sounds vaguely familiar. Jonah and the Doctor begin investigating saloons. Jonah inquires as to what kind of a doctor Arkham is and Arkham begins describing a character from Criminal Minds, like I, you know, mentioned earlier. Jonah quickly interrupts him and says, "Forget ah asked."

All the whores in 1880's Gotham are hot with big tits.

As Hex handily beats the crap out of everyone in the saloon, the Doctor sits back and psychoanalyzes him. I've read a few Jonah Hex stories and like him because he's a mystery to me. Perhaps if I'd read more, he'd be less of a mystery and I wouldn't like him as much. But I'm enjoying this 80's buddy movie take on Hex especially since they've paired him with an Arkham. I also don't know which Arkham first opened the Asylum and my internet is still down so I won't be learning that any time soon. But seeing as how I have a Who's Who here, I check that and find an entry on Arkham Asylum. It was Amadeus Arkham who created the instute, turning the family mansion into the asylum in 1921. The same entry says he died in 1963 as an inmate of the asylum. That would make him right around 100 years old when he dies now that we're seeing him in the 1880s. That's also assuming he's in his early to mid-twenties in this story. But since it's a reboot, none of that has to be anywhere near accurate. Especially since he seems to be at least in his forties and possibly fifties in this issue.

Jonah Hex gets some information from a prostitute he knows. She tells him how one of the girls murdered was last seen picked up by a big black carriage. All that was seen of the John was one clawed hand with a skull ring on the finger. And then the next day, Jonah gets a message.

The Gotham Butcher squicked her to death.

Jonah Hex reminds me a lot of Captain Malcolm Reynolds. Jonah still wears his confederate uniform so he's a Browncoat of sorts. The frontier Western theme makes the comparison easy as well. He's distant and cold and throws himself into the business. I don't know how loyal he is to the people that get close to him. Or if anyone at all can get close to him. Perhaps he's more like Stephen King's Gunslinger and he uses all of his companions for his own ends. I guess I'm going to have to wait and see how his partnership with Dr. Arkham turns out.

At some point during the investigation, the Doctor and Hex seem to agree that they are dealing with two parties. "One being the Butcher, a man of wealth and intelligence. And the other being his helper. A man of limited mental capabilities but possessing great strength." Sounds a little bit like their partnership! By the way, the Who's Who stated that the first person incarcerated in Arkham Asylum was known as Mad Dog and he was a violent sexual predator. I don't know if this story is the Reboot's version of that story. But it might be!

Arkham is invited to an affluent party by Mayor Cobblepot. Hex comes along figuring the Butcher will be there and maybe a sight of Hex will make it clear that they're on his tail. Instead, they find nearly everyone there wearing skull rings and belonging to a secret society seeking the betterment of society. Arkham and Hex get the hell out and Jonah Hex declares he was wrong about the Butcher! Things are about to get wild!

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