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