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Review: East of West #11

EastofWest11_Cover“For what are you if you’re not CHOSEN, Bel? Just a bag of bones like any other man.”

In the alternative reality of East of West, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta, the political landscape unfolds bit by bit to reveal a new world ripe with intrigue, betrayal, and prophecy. East of West #11 begins the third story arc of what is possibly the best and most creative series on the market today. The story is so rich and the characters so deep that you can’t help but get lost in the plot and immerse yourself in the crisp and precise drawings of Dragotta. It’s hard to believe we are only on issue #11 when it feels as though Hickman has expanded this world to boundaries beyond imagination.

Each arc is masterfully written and the anticipated third arc begins with one of The Chosen, Xiaolin Mao, and wife of Death, on her way to The Wall. Hickman hints at a potential war on the horizon, but we’re not sure yet of when it will occur or who will be the participating belligerents. It could be between two or three nations or a world war, encompassing all of the nations. The tag line at the beginning of the issue is “Peace is but a prelude to war”. I am not positive, but the “peace” that Hickman mentions could be the inner peace or conflict that the characters in this issue struggle with. You can see the battles that each must endure, portraying their own “peace” or calm before the storm.

Xiaolin’s (from the PRA) inner voices disrupt her meditation while Bel Solomon’s objects to him getting a complete night’s rest. He experiences nightmares and almost puts a bullet in his own head to escape the madness if not for the his foresight that “there is still much to be done”. I can only imagine this to be some form of treachery that he plans on exercising at The Wall; the place where all the heads of state plan to meet. Archibald Chamberlain, I believe, is talking to an oracle in his moment of peace before the storm. He plans on escorting the president of The Confederacy, Burkhart, to the meeting of nations. all his actions to date have been completely self-serving and this one is no exception. I am constantly wondering what his true motivation really are ever since he managed to escape execution by the hands of Death in the first arc.

The next nation we learn about is The Kingdom and their emissary to The Wall, The Prince. This provides a little bit of comic relief and I laughed when The Prince punched his ‘next-in-line’ right in the face. I really like The Kingdom’s storyline and one of my favorite issues of the series is the standalone one that was released when we first met their prince. This brings us to the following nation traveling to The Wall, The Union. They seem, in my opinion, to think of themselves as better than all the others and their president appears to think herself superior to even her citizens. It will be interesting to see how each will act in times of struggle and war, if it comes to that.

The issue ends with somewhat of a cliffhanger, introducing The Endless Nation and their delegates. Although we have not met The Endless Nation before this issue we do know some things about them. The last arc introduced Cheveyo, someone who was cast out by them to The Sea of Bones. If you remember in issue #10, Death is in search of The Beast and his journey brings him in the path of this man from The Endless Nation. If he is any indication of their citizenry, then The Endless Nation is a force to reckon with. This arc promises to be another fun ride and if it is anything like the first two, then you should definitely pick up each issue. If you are someone that can wait for the trade, then you have much more patience than me, but I love the feel of a single issue in my hands, especially with a title as great as East of West.

Thoughts and Discussion

- What is Chamberlain’s plan? He escorts President Burkhart to The Wall, but something tells me he has an ulterior motive.

- What is the purpose of gathering the heads of state together? If you remember, The Horsemen had a plan to execute…could this be part of it?

- Where is Death? He is probably one of my favorite comic book characters and love seeing him in all his black and white glory. What is his plan after the disastrous last issue and the confrontation with The Ranger?

- Why is The Endless Nation feared so much? What do they bring to the table and what are their plans?

Thank you for reading my Review! Please comment below so we can discuss the issue further!

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Nick Dragotta Colors: Frank Martin
Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: East of West #11

East of West #11

Written By: Jonathan Hickman
Art By: Nick Dragotta
Cover By: Nick Dragotta
Cover Price: $3.50
Digital Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: JAN140585
Published: April 9, 2014

“THE NATION, XIAOLIAN”

The Bride of Death makes her first moves in the great game of Nations. The Chosen begin to splinter.

EastofWest11_Cover

Preview: Secret #7

Secret #7

Story By: Jonathan Hickman
Art By: Ryan Bodenheim
Art By: Michael Garland
Cover Price: $3.50
Digital Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: OCT130621
Published: April 2, 2014

“ENDGAME”

It’s taken fifteen years of couples counseling. Forty barrels of ink. Six billion dollars… and a time machine to get to the epic conclusion of SECRET… and HERE IT IS! The death and resurrection of Steadfast. Someone lives. Someone dies. And, of course, someone loses a finger.

Check out the final chapter of this modern spy thriller, SECRET #7: ENDGAME!

Secret7-cover

Secrets Revealed in Avengers #29 – a Tie-In to Original Sin!

This May, the collision of the Avengers and New Avengers is imminent as treacheries come to light in Avengers #29 – an Original Sin tie-in!

The Illuminati, a secret cabal of the Marvel Universe’s greatest minds, was brought together for a single purpose – to protect the world from the threat of multiversal armageddon. But to save our entire universe, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Namor, The Black Panther, The Beast and Black Bolt would have to do the unthinkable.

To protect their secret, they tampered with the memories of Captain America – erasing his knowledge of their terrible acts. But no secret stays buried forever. And Steve Rogers is about to discover the betrayal of his closest allies.

With Captain America’s memories restored, the Illuminati’s days are numbered. The clash of the Avengers and New Avengers is upon us. What shocking secrets have Tony Stark and his secret inner circle been keeping? Find out as the truth stands revealed in Avengers #29!

AVENGERS #29
Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Art by LEINIL YU
Cover by FRANK CHO
On-Sale This May!

Avengers_29_Cover

Review: East of West #10

eastofwest10-Cover“There’s Horsemen on the plains, the sky’s red as blood, and only the blind can see a better end.”
- The Oracle to Death -

The second trade of East of West by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta concludes with the fascinating Issue #10. By far one of the best comics out there, East of West continues to amaze readers with its intricate writing from Jonathan Hickman as well as over-the-top art by the skillful Nick Dragotta. Comics like this one are my favorite because it mixes elements of greater stories into one big puzzle. There is an overarching mythology, an alternate timeline, and some of the best futuristic western backdrops I have ever seen. I cannot stress enough how amazing the art is and how well Dragotta captures the story that Hickman is trying to convey to the reader.

Issue #10 begins where we last seen Death in Issue #9, speaking with the Oracle until he loses an eye. We know that the Oracle lost her sight by the hands of the Four Horseman, but we don’t know when or why? She takes the left eye from Death as he gets close enough in the last issue. What surprises me in the first panel is that Death can feel pain; that is kind of a shock. Death is searching for his son (which he has been since issue #1) and, to avoid being shot and killed, the Oracle tells him to go see a man at a grave who can help him. We learn later that it’s not ‘a grave’ but ‘THE Grave’ – A place for those cast out of the Endless Nation. The Tag-Line of the issue is ‘Sea of Bones’ and that’s exactly where the man they are searching for is. Death and his posse, Wolf and Crow, are looking for ‘A Chosen’ with a seat of power to the west of their location and they set out to find him.

We then cut to Death’s child and the other three horsemen checking in on him. They see him in his imprisoned state answering questions with philosophical answers as the horsemen ponder his future as well as all of civilization. The banter and back and forth between the horsemen are some of my favorite scenes in East of West. The subject of the questions being asked to the child are dark and bleak and we learn that he feels nothing, emotionally but possibly physically as well. The horsemen begin to question the events that have led to this point and decide that they need to act on their hunches and, if they are correct, dispose of Death’s child. At this point we are not sure of a few things: what the horsemen are really after, what is it they will seek from Death when they finally cross his path, and what the existence of Death’s child means for the horsemen and the repercussion that has on civilization. The child and his computer-tutor know of the danger he is in and as soon as the horsemen leave his lair he begins to ask for instruction on the current state of geopolitical alliances and advanced weaponry for what he believes is a potential war – that is one smart kid to say the least.

Back to the Sea of Bones there are certain revelations that come to light that were a little unexpected; The Wolf is the son of the man they are searching for, Cheveyo. A flashback panel shows the Wolf as a young boy with his father and what appears to be a young John Freeman that we met last issue and I’m sure we will find out more of this relationship later on. One thing that I love about East of West is that most characters get an in-depth background that we learn about and the world is so rich and colorful that Hickman and Dragotta could tell an endless amount of stories from that outdo most books on the shelves today. Death and his enduring search for his son is the one being told currently and his journey brings him to this struggle with Cheveyo, the Wolf’s father. A battle ensues and the art on these pages is nothing short of extraordinary. The reds pop and the blacks with its shadows and grays bring to life the blood and darkness that Death is willing to endure through his epic journey. I won’t spoil the ending for you but let’s just that a familiar face returns in the Ranger and all I can say is that I can’t wait for the next arc to come out.

If you have one comic on your Pull-List every month it should no doubt be East of West. This comic book has everything a fan of Sci-Fi could want and mixed with the equally out-of-this-world art by Nick Dragotta you will not be disappointed. Other fans of this book that I speak with suggest getting the Trade because the story and the world they have created is very large and it is easy to get lost in. However, I get very impatient, especially with great books, and can’t wait that long.

This is my first review of East of West and I plan on writing a more in-depth analysis on all subsequent issues. Please check back here on Graphic Policy after each issues release for more on this great comic book. I will do my best to dissect all the information we get and what it means in the grander scheme of things so we can better understand what is going on in this magnificent open world. See you next issue.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Nick Dragotta Colors: Frank Martin
Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: East of West #10

East of West #10

Story By: Jonathan Hickman
Art By: Nick Dragotta
Cover By: Nick Dragotta
Cover Price: $3.50
Digital Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: NOV130501
Published: March 12, 2014

“OLD MAGIC”

Death finally tracks down someone who knows where his son has been hidden, right as the Ranger finds that exact same man. Someone shoots, someone gets shot, and someone dies.

eastofwest10-Cover

Preview: Secret #6

Secret #6

Story By: Jonathan Hickman
Art By: Ryan Bodenheim
Art By: Michael Garland
Cover Price: $3.50
Digital Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: SEP130637
Published: March 5, 2014

“KODIAK”

The secrets behind the hidden connection tying the CIA, KGB, and modern Security Companies are finally revealed.

secret6-cover

Preview: Adapt or Die – Your First Look at Avengers #27!

This March, secrets stand revealed in Avengers #27, from writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Salvador Larroca! They have come from another space and time, but they are not who they seem. As the science war overtakes the globe, the truth behind the All-New Avengers stands revealed! And it will shock Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to their core. If they live that long. The collision of the Avengers and New Avengers is imminent, and no fan can afford to miss the clash of these two titanic teams! This March, secrets can only stay buried for so long in Avengers #27!

But that’s not all! Avengers #27 also contains the full story from All-New Invaders #1 as bonus content at no extra charge! Now is your chance to hop on board one of the hottest new series of All-New Marvel NOW! as Captain America, The Winter Soldier, Namor and the Original Human Torch re-band to wage a new kind of war!

AVENGERS #27 (JAN140753)
Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Art by SALVADOR LARROCA
Cover by MIKE DEODATO
Variant Cover by DUSTIN WEAVER (NOV138100)
FOC – 3/03/2014, On-Sale – 3/26/2014

Avengers_27_Cover

Preview: Everything Dies – Your First Look at New Avengers #16.NOW!

This March, the past comes back to haunt even the most powerful heroes in New Avengers #16.NOW, from writer Jonathan Hickman and chart-topping artist Rags Morales! No more bloodshed. The proud Black Panther and the arrogant Namor have sued for peace. To save their nations of Wakanda and Atlantis they must set aside their differences. As members of the Illuminati, a secret collective of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful heroes, they must work together in secret to stop the extinction of their entire universe! But their amends may be too little too late. Their universe is unravelling – and everyone pays the price for their sins. There’s no turning back for the Illuminati after this issue! No fan can afford to miss New Avengers #16.NOW!

NEW AVENGERS #16.NOW (JAN140636)
Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
Art by RAGS MORALES
Cover by MIKE DEODATO
Variant Cover by RAGS MORALES (JAN140637)
FOC – 3/03/2014, On-Sale – 3/26/2014

New_Avengers_16.NOW_Cover

Preview: The Manhattan Projects #18

The Manhattan Projects #18

Story By: Jonathan Hickman
Art By: Nick Pitarra
Cover Price: $3.50
Digital Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: SEP130625
Published: February 26, 2014

“GAME THEORY”

The Manhattan Projects are in peril as the Great Game of the Infinite Oppenheimers is revealed.

manhattan18-cover

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