Review: East of West #10
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