East of West (vol. 1 & 2) by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta

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Chelsey at Chels and a Book did a review of East of West a while back that made me reeeealllly want to try it. She’s absolutely right – the story line is a bit confusing a first, but I totally dived into it and picked up the second volume the next time I went to the comic book shop.

East of West (published by Image) is about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in a weird future alternate reality that has a wild west vibe fused with high-technology. The Horsemen are missing a fourth of their group – Death. Death, in case you were wondering, is a complete bad-ass, and he’s out for vengeance. He’s got a list of names, and he means to cross them all off. Meanwhile, the other Horsemen are trying to find him while also trying to bring about the end of the world – you know, because that’s kind of their jam. There is SO much more to the story than that, as early as half-way through the first volume, but I don’t want to spoil it. They were moments that took me completely by surprise and completely sucked me in. Jonathan Hickman had thrown a lot of characters into the mix without always completely explaining who or what they are (Death is accompanied by two other people in white and black, named the Wolf and the Crow, but I don’t really know what their deal is), but the further you get in the story the clearer the story becomes.

Death really is the star of the show here. It may seem odd, but I totally feel for him and am cheering him on.

The ART, you guys. Nick Dragotta is the artist, and Frank Martin does colors, and together they do an absolutely stunning job. Everything is crisp and gorgeous, the colors are powerful and evocative, and the characters are all distinct enough in look and personality that I don’t have trouble telling them apart. (That last part is something I run into with comics sometimes.) There are panels that I would happily frame and hang in my future library room or hallway.

I am REALLY excited about East of West. The third volume should come out in early October I believe, and I can’t WAIT to get my hands on it. I usually prefer to buy my  fave comics in one format (for instance, I have all trade volumes of Chew, Saga, and The Manhattan Projects), but I may start buying the monthly single issues after that. Waiting for a fourth volume would just take too long.

Sarah Says: 4.5 stars

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