All-Star Western 2: War of Lords and Owls

all-star western volume 2 war of lords and owls review
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Like Western superheroes

Back-up stories underdeveloped, feels like it needs a bigger push

Comic Info

Comic Name:   All-Star Western (Volume 3)

Publisher:   DC Comics

Writer:   Jimmy Palmiotti/Justin Gray

Artist:   Moritat/Patrick Scherberger/Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez/Scott Kolins

# of Issues:   6

Release Date:   2013

all star western #8 cover jose ladronn art jonah hex

All-Star Western (3) #8

Reprints All Star Western (3) #7-12 (May 2012-October 2012). Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham head to New Orleans where they discover that Gotham might have a problem with the legendary Court of Owls. Unfortunately, Gotham is also the home to the Followers of the Crime Bible and a major turf war has broken out between the Owls and the worshipers of the Crime Bible…and Hex, Arkham, and Hex’s friend Tallulah Black are caught in the middle! Plus, Cinnamon and Nighthawk are out to avenge Cinnamon’s family, Bat Lash is caught up in a shotgun wedding, and Dr. Terrence Thirteen is out to prove that there is no Haunted Highwayman.

Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, All-Star Western Volume 2: War of Lords and Owls is part of the New 52 relaunch of the DC Universe (the title is also sometimes listed as All Star Western without the hyphen). Following All-Star Western Volume 1: Guns and Gotham, the series features art by Moritat, Patrick Scherberger, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and Scott Kolins. Jonah Hex is the feature story and Nighthawk & Cinnamon (#7-9), Bat Lash (#10), and Terrence 13 (#11-12) are featured as back-up stories. All-Star Western (3) #9 was also collected in Batman: Night of the Owls.

I’m always intrigued by Westerns though I’m not a huge Western fan. I think what attracts me to the big screen Westerns are the visuals, but what attracts me to the comic book Westerns is the idea of Western heroes being the first line of superheroes. The concept of bringing Jonah Hex into the modern superhero world also is fun…and All-Star Western works about fifty-percent of the time.

all-star western #11 cover rafa garres art jonah hex tallulah black

All-Star Western (3) #11

The story works as it incorporates Hex into the modern DC Universe. It was an interesting move to parallel Hex’s battles with the Owls with Batman’s battle with the Owls. It also raises the stakes as Hex as a superhero and not just a standard vigilante character. The addition (or return of) Hex’s on-and-off again supporting character Tallulah Black in the second half of the collection also sets up a bit more story dynamics by having a larger supporting cast.

Unfortunately for Jonah Hex, the series has the pacing of a Western at times. I think Westerns often move at a sluggish pace despite being “action-adventure” stories in basic concept. It felt like what was covered in the collection could have been covered in a couple of issues and that much of the story was drawn out.

Part of the reason the story drags is that part of the issues are devoted to the back-up stories. While it is nice to see other DC Western heroes like Cinnamon, Nighthawk, Dr. Thirteen, and Bat Lash, it feels like their backup stories aren’t developed enough and take away from Hex’s tales. Readers today can’t stomach a “stand-alone” issue as much nor an anthology book (which is a shame)…I wish there was a better way for the other Western heroes to get full shakes at stories instead of underdeveloped short stories.

All-Star Western 2: War of Lords and Owls is solid, but it isn’t great. It feels like this title could be so much more with some tweaking and ratchetting up of action. Hex is an interesting character and Palmiotti and Gray are developing him, but it feels like the comic needs an extra boost that it isn’t receiving. All-Star Western 2: War of Lords and Owls is followed by All-Star Western 3: The Black Diamond Probability.

Related Links:

All-Star Western 1:  Guns and Gotham

All-Star Western 3:  The Black Diamond Probability

All-Star Western 4:  Gold Standard

All-Star Western 5:  Man Out of Time

All-Star Western 6:  End of the Trail

Batman:  Night of the Owls

Jonah Hex (2010)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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