"Jonah Hex and any Western is a hard sell to mainstream comic readers," says All-Star Western scribe Justin Gray in an interview with Comic Book Resources, before going on to point out that All-Star Western has been outselling Jonah's previous outing in the pre-Flashpoint title Jonah Hex.
So how does DC celebrate this success? By removing the title's unique period setting and plonking Jonah in the modern day DC Universe through a heavy-handed, and seemingly random, time travel plot twist.
I initially thought Jonah's stay in the contemporary DCU would be a short-term, story-driven affair, but from reading the Comic Book Resources article I now get the impression that this change of locale will be with us for the foreseeable future as Gray says:
"The fun part is watching him interact with people like Booster Gold, Amadeus Arkham, Bruce Wayne, John Constantine and who knows, maybe we can even see what he thinks of a man who can fly."It's a shame then that Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have spent the last two years developing an interesting supporting cast for Hex back in the 19th Century that we're not going to see again.
One of the things I've felt broadly differentiated the DCU from the Marvel Universe was that DC had a sense that 'superheroes' had been around in some form or another for a long time, whereas in the Marvel Universe costumed crimefighters were very much a modern-day phenomenon.
Of course, recently, DC axed its other 'historical' title, Demon Knights, so I suppose it shouldn't come as any surprise that All-Star Western has suffered such a dramatic tonal shift.
Sadly, I'm not interested in this new "fish out of water" vibe, in the same way that I had no interest when Hex was zapped to post-apocalyptic Earth in the 1980s. I want the character to stick to his historical Western roots... in the Old West (or 19th Century Gotham City, at least, where he was, already, very much the 'fish out of water').
Therefore I shall be voting with my wallet and, regrettably, dropping the title until I hear that Jonah has returned to the 19th Century. Unfortunately, I suspect I might hear that All-Star Western has been culled before that happens.
With the loss of All-Star Western from my pull-list that brings my DC titles down to just Scott Snyder's Batma. This seems a very sorry state of affairs considering that, pre-Flashpoint, DC once accounted for at least a third of my monthly titles and, on occasion, even well over 50 per cent.