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Review: East of West #1

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LOLtron
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Review: East of West #1

Postby LOLtron » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:26 am

Review: East of West #1

A review of the new Image series.




Jonathan Hickman really loves his alternate histories.  Whether it’s exploring the effects of time travel in Pax Romana, showing the impact superpowers have on historical figures in SHIELD, or turning a group of super-scientists into…well super-scientists in Manhattan Projects, many of Hickman’s projects are about cultivating wild new worlds caused by deviations from recorded history.  East of West, Hickman’s newest Image ongoing with artist Nick Dragotta, features yet another of Hickman’s alternate histories, this one framed by an impending apocalypse of biblical proportions.     

Like Hickman’s other work, the premise isn’t an easy one to describe.  The book is set fifty years into the future and is set in a fractured America in which Union wars against the Confederacy and a united Indian nation were summarily ended by a comet strike. The comet strike not only solidified a divided America, it also heralded a second book of Revelations penned by a Confederate preacher, an Indian chief and Mao Zedong, which foretold the coming of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  

Still with me?  Good, because all that is set up in two pages.  The rest of the book features presidential assassination attempts, child horsemen of the Apocalypse, weird cricket motorcycles and a wild gunslinger with a vendetta.  In a world in which major comic book companies peddle fluff event comics that take multiple issues to set up the basic premise, Hickman and Dragotta jump right into the action and hooks readers from the start.

East of West is everything that a modern comic should be.  Smart, deep and unconventional, the book mixes stunning visuals with a multilayered plot.  It also feels like a Hickman book; Hickman’s love of symbology and seeding for future plotlines are on full display throughout the issue and Dragotta’s art is flawless.

If there’s one weakness to the series is that in amid all the world-building and setup, there’s drastically little characterization.  Death, the main character of the series, seems like your typical angry future space cowboy.  The only characters that are given any depth at all are the child Horsemen, who will probably be the breakout characters of the book.  Still, there’s only so many pages that Hickman can stuff into one comic, and I’m confident he’ll flesh out his characters in future installments.

If you’re a fan of high concept science fiction, East of West is the book for you. Hickman and Dragotta have once again delivered a book unlike anything else on the market. 

 



Written or Contributed by ThanosCopter


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Victorian Squid
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Re: Review: East of West #1

Postby Victorian Squid » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:36 pm

Wow, you got some crazy views, there's obviously a lot of interest out there in reading reviews of East Of West.

I liked it, for a first issue. I think it will be interesting to see where it goes. I assume given the scope of the world Hickman has laid out (in map form at least), that the cast will open up as well. Sort of like Manhattan Projects has.

The weakest part for me was also characterization, or more specifically the character of the Death himself. Dozens and dozens of random, anonymous people were slaughtered off-panel in this issue--it reminded me of that classic scene in Miracleman, but entertainment and comics cultures have come a long way since then and it's somehow less shocking now, so I hope there's more to East Of West than that. \

It didn't knock my socks off immediately like Manhattan Projects did, but it did leave me similarly wanting to read more.

And Image so often produces such beautiful, smartly-designed comics these days! I look over the Marvel and DC covers, I want to puke half the time.

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Re: Review: East of West #1

Postby Punchy » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:55 pm

Victorian Squid wrote:And Image so often produces such beautiful, smartly-designed comics these days! I look over the Marvel and DC covers, I want to puke half the time.


I'm kind of over covers that are all blocks of solid colour or solid white.

I picked this up, I'll probably write a review for the RG.

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Re: Review: East of West #1

Postby Victorian Squid » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:11 pm

Punchy wrote:
I'm kind of over covers that are all blocks of solid colour or solid white.


I know you like your comics covers splattered with candy-colored fetish men, with their muscles rendered erotically under the photorealistic leather and vinyl.

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Re: Review: East of West #1

Postby Punchy » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:27 pm

Victorian Squid wrote:
I know you like your comics covers splattered with candy-colored fetish men, with their muscles rendered erotically under the photorealistic leather and vinyl.


Nah, it just seems like 'innovative cover design' is only one thing, lots of block colour.

Hawkeye, Saga, anything by Hickman, they all do it.

There needs to be something more than white space.

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Re: Review: East of West #1

Postby Sunless » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:04 pm

Punchy wrote:
Nah, it just seems like 'innovative cover design' is only one thing, lots of block colour.

Hawkeye, Saga, anything by Hickman, they all do it.

There needs to be something more than white space.


I liked the Dicks parody cover. It was based on one of the Saga covers.

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Re: Review: East of West #1

Postby Grayson » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:07 pm

I really hope my LCS still has a copy of this tomorrow because I forgot to pick it up while I was in the store on Wednesday and I couldn't make it back today. :-(
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Re: Review: East of West #1

Postby Victorian Squid » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:17 pm

Who bought #2 today?

I did, but I still am not connecting with this new series. Loved the new Manhattan Projects out today as well, though.

East Of West is still sort of dancing around the nature of the conflicts at play while introducing a shit ton of new characters this issue, including Death's old lady.

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