|"The War of Lords and Owls, Part Two"|
|First Published:||July 25, 2012|
|Previous Issue:||All-Star Western #10|
|Next Issue:||All-Star Western #12|
"The War of Lords and Owls, Part Two"Edit
After having just witnessed one of his own patients assassinated by the Talon of the Court of Owls, Amadeus Arkham worries about the inevitable clash that this no longer mythological organization will have with the followers of the Crime Bible, whom he and Jonah Hex have been at odds with since the bounty hunter arrived in Gotham City.
Meanwhile, out on Cobblepot Pass, the Religion of Crime's Lord of Extortion Lucius Bennet is still concerned about the threat that Alan Wayne poses to his land acquisition plans. Wayne wants to turn the land in the north of the city into public gardens, but Bennet wants to create a residential development, so that he can squeeze money out of the people who will live there. Suddenly his carriage stops, as it appears he is being ambushed.
Up the road, Jonah Hex and Tallulah Black wait with their guns at the ready, intending to get vengeance against Bennet for having sent men to kill Tallulah's family. Bennet sends his security man, Mr. Baroque, to fight on his behalf, but Hex makes note of the ring on his finger that indicates him as a follower of Cain. After taking a shot in the shoulder from Baroque, Hex tires of waiting for Tallulah to make her move, and shoots the bodyguard from his horse, allowing the woman to chase her prey unobstructed.
Bennet's carriage topples in the middle of the suspended bridge into Gotham, and Tallulah Black manages to pin him beneath the muzzle of her gun. Suddenly, a throwing knife plants itself in Tallulah's thigh, distracting her long enough for the Talon to take her place. The Talon warns that Bennet has been marked for death by the Court of Owls. Bennet shouts back that the followers of Cain will drag the Court out into the streets and massacre them, but the Talon drops a smoke bomb and drags him away. Worried that the smoke will draw attention to them, Jonah and Tallulah ride back to Arkham's mansion.
Meanwhile, the Talon leaps off the side of the bridge, holding on to both Bennet and a rope. Bennet thinks that she has saved him, but she wraps the end of the rope around his neck in a noose, and as she releases him to be strangled under his own weight, he cries out that his death will start a war.
Elsewhere, the followers of the Crime Bible appoint Evan Charles to replace Lucius Bennet as their Lord of Extortion. As the first order of business, Charles warns that it is past time for Hex, Arkham, and Black to die. Lord of Assassins Jackson Duggar is prepared with a dozen men ready to strike, but Lord of Prostitution Charlotte the Harlot decides that they will personally deal with the trio, to show their collective strength to their followers. Charles warns that if they fail, each of their houses will be without leadership, which would be a grave mistake, given their already tenuous grasp on the city. However, plans are already in motion.
The police barge into Arkham's home, demanding the arrest of the doctor, Tallulah Black, and Jonah Hex. They find the bounty hunters in bed, ordering them to get dressed, as they are under arrest for the murder of Lucius Bennet. Hex tries to argue, but a well-aimed kick drops him to his knees. The police order Tallulah to get dressed, expressing revulsion at the sight of the numerous scars covering her body. As she covers herself, she swears that she will get revenge for how they've treated her.
The police take the three into Slaughter Swamp in an armoured carriage, each with bags over their heads. They've been on the road for so long that they are sure they are not going to the police station. In any case, they are being set up for the murder charge - presumably by the Religion of Crime, given that Bennet was a member. The carriage stops outside a mansion in the swamp. Jonah struggles, and a sinister doctor pours an opiate onto the bag over his head, knocking him out.
The doctor is one of Jackson Duggar's men, and he has designed a steam-powered death machine for the purpose of extracting whatever information they have. Duggar explains that they will not be requiring information - they merely want revenge. Tallulah listens from her position, hanging by her hands from the rafters next to her male companions - unfortunately, the only one who is conscious. Steeling herself, and cursing male ignorance, she pulls herself up over the rafter she is tied to and rips through her bonds with her teeth.
Before exacting their revenge, the Religion of Crime leaders hold another meeting, where Evan Charles reveals that Bennet's land deal has fallen through, and the city council has approved Alan Wayne's plan for a botanical garden. Charlotte declares that Wayne must die, but the man's power and influence is growing. It is a possibility, they think, that he is a member of their rivals, the Court of Owls - but the Wayne influence predates the Religion of Crime's arrival in the city.
In any case, their organization requires a land acquisition, and Charlotte warns Charles that he will be out if he cannot deliver. In order to succeed, they will also need to kill Hex and Arkham, as they plan tonight, and to convince Mayor Cobblepot to join their cause. Unfortunately, he is fiercely independent, despite his numerous criminal connections, and he has refused them before.
The Lords of Crime head down the stairs to get their revenge, only to find that Tallulah Black is missing. Now awake, Jonah Hex warns that they had better get out their Crime Bibles and start praying, because they will need all the help they can get if they plan to survive Tallulah Black's vengeance.
"The Haunted Highwayman! Part 1 of 2: Hunting in the Moonlight"Edit
The outskirts of Gotham City are plagued by a highwayman who appears to be a ghost. He chases down coaches, and when he catches up to them, he demands all of the passengers' money and jewels, else he will kill them. In their fear, Mr. and Mrs. Whimpley can only comply.
Whimply and the police go to the only man they can think of: Terrence Thirteen, debunker of the occult and mystical myth. Though Whimply has been convinced that the highway man is some kind of ghost, Dr. Thirteen assures him that whomever this thief is, it is a man, and he is alive. His elaborate costume and advanced weaponry indicate an advanced intellect and sufficient means. He must be a man of science, and Thirteen suggests that Detective Foster begin his search at the college.
Doctor Thirteen is less concerned about how the man commits his crimes than he is about why. Why would a man of such intelligence and means choose to resort to common thievery? He agrees to take the case, demanding some time in private with Dr. Arkham to confer.
That night, a coach travels along a country road, and the highwayman appears. He is soon surrounded by Thirteen and his men, who warn that the coach is empty, and he is under arrest. The highwayman responds by unleashing a blast of flames from his weapon at the doctor.
"The War of Lords and Owls, Part Two"Edit
- Tallulah Black
- Amadeus Arkham
- Jonah Hex
- Religion of Crime
- Gotham City
- Cobblepot Pass
- Slaughter Swamp