All-Star Western #9: Owl Night

Even Jonah Hex gets caught up in the madness, even though he lives over a century before "Night of the Owls."

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

All-Star Western #9

One of the most fun parts of the Scott Snyder-engineered "NIght of the Owls" event was that it's inventing a new legacy of criminals stretching back through the very beginnings of Gotham City, and since Jonah Hex has been dickin' around that particular burg throughout most of his New 52 series, this crossover was even going to hit up All-Star Western #9, and maybe bring a little more attention to a fun western book in the process.

Ironically enough, this event his when Hex and his unwanted partner Amadeus Arkham have actually LEFT Gotham CIty and are trucking around in Loozy-ana with Nighthawk and Cinnamon, puttin' the kibosh on some militant bastards tryin' to kill a whole boatload of immigrants just for bein' immigrants. Shore as hell ain't neighborly of 'em. Once that's done and handled, the man Hex trailed down south is found dead in the hands of a Talon of the Court of Owls, who vanishes into the night as soon as she's made. It's mildly disappointing that the Owl's only a glorified cameo, but there's plenty of fight leading up to its appearance to make sure the action quotient doesn't suffer.

What also makes up for it is the appearance of Tallulah Black, who is essentially a female Hex with a crazier edge and less experience and one of the best characters in Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti's Jonah Hex run pre-reboot. She storms the Wayne Casino aimin' to gun down a man named Bennet who's most certainly got it comin'. However, while it's scripted perfectly with pompous rich-man dialog interspersed with the slow, steady approach of her spurs, the unfortunate Moritat art takes what should be a truly impressive splash-page reveal and sadly makes it look like Black's a 12-year-old girl playing dress-up in cowboy clothes and scar makeup. Moritat's art in general is acceptable and at times (particularly with the Talon) pretty cool, but when it fails, it tends to fail hard.

The backup story finishes retelling the origin of Cinnamon and how she set up shop in New Orleans with Nighthawk after gettin' her just revenge, and the Patrick Scherberger art, while also a mite inconsistent, shows Moritat how to give a woman a look of experience behind her eyes.

Overall, All-Star Western #9 maintains the entertainment level of the series so far – particularly with Arkham's incredulity at the revelation that someone actually married Hex, and Hex's response at his attempted mockery of it. Also, it was nice to see that Arkham wasn't entirely dead weight, and actually played upon his appearance as dead weight to help pull off the plan. This book is good, and Hex is back in Gotham by the end of it all. Is he gonna remain there for good? Who knows, but if it helps get him in the mix with big-time crossovers, I'm eager to see how it works out.