I’m so impressed with the Sci-Fi/Western hybrid setting that Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta have created for this book, and how with each issue, we find out a little bit more about it, and are introduced to even more great characters. Hell, this issue doesn’t even feature the central character of this title, Death, or even the main villains, the other Horsemen, and it’s still fantastic.
The issue begins at Armistice, with the 7 members of ‘The Chosen’ once again meeting, and it looks like Bel Solomon and Chamberlain’s conspiring has been discovered. Xiaolin has sent The Chosen the severed hands of her sister, and thanks to the every-mysterious ‘Message’ this means they know that there has been a traitor. Chamberlain rats out Solomon (I love the character of Chamberlain, he really is a great chaotic element, just fucking things up for the hell of it), and Solomon is forced to escape, not just from his fellow Chosen, but from a weird, tentacle monster created by the Native American Chosen. This was a great action scene, and even in small ways, it told us a little bit more about these characters, I’m particularly interested in the black guy (I think his name is John Freeman), who looks like a crack-shot.
So, Bel Solomon escapes, but unfortunately he crash-lands and is in need of help from an old friend. We then get an extended flashback to tell us about this friend, that also serves to demonstrate just how corrupt the world of East Of West is. Solomon’s friend (I don’t think a name is given) was a Texas Ranger, who discovered that his family had been brutally murdered by a member of a very rich family. Bel Solomon acts as the Ranger’s lawyer in this case, but it’s to no avail, the Judge is in the rich man’s pocket, and he is found not guilty. The Ranger of course takes this badly, and just snaps, killing not only the Judge, but also the court security, and then the man who killed his family. The Ranger then takes the Judge’s helmet, and sets out to stop corruption. It looks like the Texas Rangers became a kind of death-squad, going around killing all of the Judges and Politicians in Texas, which is kind of awesome, like a whole army of Punishers (with a robot dog too!).
After they killed all of the corrupt officials in Texas, the Rangers hung up their helmets, but now Solomon wants his friend back on the job, and to go after the rest of The Chosen. Texas Ranger agrees, but of course, he’s also going to kill Bel… last.
This was another great issue of this comic, the art from Dragotta continues to be amazing, and it’s crazy how many layers there are to unpeel here, as I said, the heretofore central characters of this title are nowhere to be seen here, but it’s still a gripping read. Just like another Image title, Saga, there are no lots of different groups and people moving at cross-purposes in this world, it’s going to be awesome to see what happens if and when the Texas Rangers come into conflict with Death, or with the 3 Horsemen. If you’ve been loving Infinity and Hickman’s other Marvel work, you should check this out for sure, it’s just as epic, but it’s got cowboy hats, so it’s even better.