All-Star Western #27

It's not a missing issue from "DC Comics Presents," but "All-Star Western" #27 does feature a meeting between Superman in Jonah Hex in a story from writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with art from Moritat, colors from Michael Atiyeh and lettering courtesy of Rob Leigh. Like those classic team-up books of yesteryear, this comic features a scene where the two DC Universe mainstays share a conversation, but missing is the unified attack upon a common foe.

Following that interchange between the two, when asked how it is that he's still drawing air, Hex replies, "Ah reckon God hates me." The scene with Superman is a bit of a heart-to-heart with the odd couple attempting to offer advice to each other that neither one seems interested in taking. That sets Hex into an uneasy state that he never really overcomes throughout the remainder of "All-Star Western" #27. Instead, the sights and sounds, the lost feeling is exacerbated and becomes a foe Hex needs to lash out at, but can't possibly hope to hit, kick or shoot. Everything is brought to a head as Hex's girl, Gina, shares an exhibit dedicated to Jonah Woodson Hex on display at the Metropolis Museum.

After a heart-warming tip of the hat to Tony DeZuniga, the writers ensure that Hex gets more uncomfortable than he's been to this point in the series, so, here's a surprise, Jonah Hex gets drunk. While the reactions seem predictable, or at least expected, the writers manage to put new spins on cliched ideas, giving everything Hex does and every reaction he has a freshness to it that shouldn't be consistently apparent in a character as old as Hex. I'm not sure where Gray and Palmiotti are taking this title, but that's the exciting part. They manage to stir up new trouble for Hex with every issue and serve more as scribes for Hex's adventures than writers of Hex's destiny. Quite simply, this series seems to be writing itself. This book is firmly set in the DCU, but independent of the goings-on and unwieldy crossovers. Anything can happen and it frequently does.

Moritat's contribution to "All-Star Western" #27 cannot be overstated. He is integral to the series and iconic in his contributions to the visual world of Jonah Hex at this point in their collective existence. Some of the text on buildings and in scenery (such as the Metropolis Museum) is a bit simplistic, but for the most part letterer Rob Leigh and colorist Michael Atiyeh synthesize nicely with Moritat's organic linework and lively characters. Like the story, the art in this issue is unpredictable and exceptionally enjoyable. I cannot begin to imagine any one of the creative components slipping from their current synchronization.

"All-Star Western" #27 is just another very good issue of a very good series. Where some titles find themselves mired in mediocrity and dragged down by unending storylines, this comic is fresh and entertaining every issue. I don't know what's coming next, but that is a large part of what makes this series so fun and engaging: every issue is a new adventure alongside the greatest gunslinger the DC Universe has ever known.

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