SPOILER WARNING: Go read “For the Man Who Has Everything.” It’s really good.
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have put Jonah Hex through quite a lot since All-Star Western #19. Hex teamed up with the one and only Booster Gold, only to be shot through time to present day Gotham City where he was instantly committed to Arkham Asylum. After escaping (and a lot more shenanigans), Hex has himself a buxom lady in tow and has come face to face with John Constantine and Swamp Thing. Now, Hex must deal with a threat straight out of the Alan Moore Playbook: the Black Mercy.
Much of the issue takes the reader inside Hex’s head under the influence of the Black Mercy, which is a dark, dark place to go. Palmiotti and Gray’s vision for Jonah’s perfect life is bleak, twisted, and amoral. In other words, it’s perfect. Too perfect for Hex’s liking, as our protagonist realizes his world of wedding bells and gunfights is far from reality. Given the craziness he has seen over the past six or seven issues, this does not come off as a surprise.
What is a surprise is the simplicity of the manner in which the Black Mercy is dealt with. It remains in line with the dark humor and minimal aesthetic that Palmiotti and Gray have established throughout their run. Constantine’s spiteful mutterings with regard to just about everything add to the enjoyment of the issue.
The final page reveal will have readers salivating for the next issue to hit shelves.
This issue may take two reads for the audience to fully appreciate it. The dream sequence dominates most of the issue, which could be confusing for readers.
All Star Western #26 is another wacky chapter in Jonah Hex’s time traveling adventure. By blending science fiction, fantasy, and western tropes, the Palmiotti and Gray have crafted an engaging and imaginative tale unlike anything else published by the Big Two. All-Star Western #26 is well worth anyone’s time.