Review: East of West #4

20130710-181957.jpgFrom the monoliths in the first frame of the series, to the epic final panel in this latest issue, Jonathan Hickman‘s sci-fi western, East of West, continues to excel. Even the best series wane, but four issues in and the explosive violence hasn’t let up. In a dystopian future (or past?), Death has reached the walls of New Shanghai in search of his lost love. In an accurate portrayal of his apocalyptic name, he obliterates Mao’s forces in effortless fashion as the other three horsemen scour the countryside in his wake, in an attempt to ‘reunite’ the fearsome foursome.

While the story and art dazzle, I must first give credit where credit is due, and that is to Frank Martin and his colors. Too often we overlook the impact of a good palette, and in this instance, it awakens a bleak landscape. Individual panels take on different variations of red, green, and white in a perfect pairing with the artwork.

Hickman’s succinct dialogue between Mao and his daughters builds on the fractured relationship, but, as with most of this grandiose world, leaves us wanting just a little bit more. I know it’s early, and I’ll still bite…but enough of the teasing. Conversely, Nick Dragotta (might be one of the coolest names ever), gives us his all in depicting the blood, sweat, and tears in New Shanghai. He imagines death and destruction like none other. I thoroughly enjoyed the frame of Death’s robotic horse dripping with exhaustion right before its next blast.

Picture Guy Pearce in The Proposition traveling through Blade Runner and you’ll have some semblance of Death’s quixotic journey. While not flawless, each issue leaves the reader wanting more. Not sure how long they can keep that up, but for now, I’m in.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Nick Dragotta
Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review