If I may gush for just a moment... How great has All Star Western been? Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have brought Jonah Hex back into the DC world and seamlessly integrated him into Gotham's history. The story arcs weave him into every aspect of the city's culture, whether it's dealing with some of the most prominent families and figureheads (Cobblepots and Waynes ahoy) or working with the man behind the now infamous Arkham Asylum. Moritat's art brings this frontier style Gotham to life, varying between intricately detailed backgrounds to simple, sexy characters, depending on what the story needs.
In issue 13 we are treated to another of Gotham's staples as a setting for Jonah's adventures: Haly's Circus. Integral to the Batman and Robin mythos, the Flying Grayson's misfortune appears to be yet another tragedy in the circus' gruesome past in Gotham. Arkham, Tallulah and Hex are led there after some vicious attacks target priests and leave the victims' faces painted like clowns with their own blood. Shades of the Joker, though the culprit is a completely different frightening clown. Seriously though, find me a clown that isn't terrifying.
Palmiotti/Gray reintroduce a character they focused on in a previous issue as a wild card during Hex's investigation. It makes for some stellar fight sequences and a more complicated plot than it seemed on the surface. Add in an imposing, creepy but familiar, antagonist and you have an intriguing recipe for the next chapter in Hex's story.
I love the way Palmiotti/Gray write these characters, archetypes with enough originality to prevent them from becoming predictable or stagnant. It's a fascinating look at the city that created Batman and really creates the feeling of a place that couldn't have evolved any other way. Gotham is as much of a character as any of the people and that's exactly how it should be, no matter which hero's name is on the cover.