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East of West #10: Fear The Future and Watch It Fall

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East of West depicts an alternate universe is in despair. Death opposes his fellow horsemen. The Chosen seek desperate measures. And the Message falls on deaf ears. The result is action and deceit. Join the fray and let Hickman and Dragotta pull you into their universe in East of West.

East of West #10 cover via imagecomics.com

East of West #10 cover via imagecomics.com

East of West #10
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Dragotta
Colors: Frank Martin
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: March 12, 2014

Pick up East Of West #10 now!
Start at the beginning and try East Of West TPB Vol. 01 The Promise collecting issues #1-5.

The Message: have you heard it? It carries a great amount of power and sway in the world of East of West. At least it does for some. Those others, the non-believers, have an agenda too, yet they are on the wrong side of the horsemen of the apocalypse. What happens when these factions face off? Hickman and Dragotta are more than happy to show you.

East of West #10 opens with Death at the Axis where he is forced to accept the high price he paid for a bit of nebulous information. Death, Crow, and Wolf travel to The Grave where they find Cheveyo materialized on the Sea of Bones. Cheveyo warns Death that he is fighting the fate of the world. In this scenario Death himself is the only true enemy. Meanwhile the child isolated in the lair of the beast reveals to us that he is actually much more calculating than assumed. When no one is watching, he and his computer companion are accessing all kinds of advanced information for his role in The Message. Cheveyo breaks through worlds and manifests as an enormous, horned demon to combat Death. A battle ensues and some father-son bonding occurs. But, then just when Cheveyo is about to reveal information vital to Death’s quest—well, something happens and it’s a big deal. (I don’t really want to spoil it. I want you to read it.)

I was hooked on East of West—immediately. After only a few pages, I knew this book was for me. I love a tale that submerses you in a new world. One where you might know not exactly what is going on, but the path to figuring it out is engaging and exciting. East of West is part apocalypse, western, parable, revenge, redemption, and love story. East of West is complex. Hickman is still adding characters and backstory to the mix at issue #10. I hope that by #15 most or all of the players are in place, so we see how the bigger picture comes together.

The art in East of West is amazing. Dragotta takes a world we kind of know, parts of it look very familiar, and turns it on its ear while keeping us grounded in classic iconography. Supernatural beings, mechanical animals, and a variety or earthly people and settings pose no trouble for Dragotta. His art is crisp with plenty depth and perspective. I love the way the flashbacks are handled. Panels do not have are not bounded by an outline and they present in a slightly softer artistic style, just like a memory. It is effective and clearly clues the reader to where they are headed in the unfolding story.

Image Comics is putting out so many books that I am digging right now: Pretty Deadly, Deadly Class, Rat Queens, Saga, Rocket Girl, Apocalypse Al, and Sex Criminals to name a few. Add East of West to that list too.

Recommendation: For readers looking for great art and a large-scale and complex story with lots of characters and motivations. East of West is almost more akin to Herbert’s Dune or Simmons’ Hyperion, than a lot of other comic arcs. Saga readers should try this for the sci-fantasy elements and Pretty Deadly readers might go for Hickman’s story and a few interesting archetypal female characters.

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