East of West keeps me constantly guessing about what’s actually going on. We’re only 6 issues in and the series is bursting full of lore and content. Now, I love East of West, but it can be overwhelming. There’s so much going on and so many characters to keep up with that I’m sure it’s a pretty big juggling act for even writer Jonathan Hickman to keep straight.
With all that being said, this issue does some good things to remedy this situation. While many of the characters' backstories are unrevealed, Hickman introduces a new character and explains his story as the issue progresses. It’s a nice reprieve from how we’ve been introduced to most of the other characters. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really digging the mystery surrounding Death and his companions’ pasts. We’ve been given a little bit of information, but the intricacies of their specific pasts have yet to be revealed, and that’s what keeps me reading.
This new character Hickman introduces is a complete badass. He’s in a little group called The Rangers, and they are reminiscent of Judge Dredd-like characters, but in more of a vigilante/outlaw kind of sense. Essentially they’re just a Western version of the Judges and it is completely freakin’ awesome. Like I said, Hickman does a good job of setting this character up as the issue progresses, and I’m excited to see what kind of trouble he’s going to stir up for everyone else along the way. Even though we don’t know a lot about the characters presiding in the world of East of West, Hickman really does make them interesting and give you a reason to care about them.
Oh boy, Nick Dragotta is unquestionably the perfect fit for this comic book. East of West is one of those books that I would purchase just for the art alone. Dragotta makes everything feel alive and vibrant, and he’s one of the biggest strengths for the book. The designs are great for the Western/Sci-Fi feel the book has and Frank Martin colors everything so well to fit with Dragotta’s artwork. I really can’t say better things about the art in this issue, or series as a whole thus far.
What I really want are more issues like this, where we get more backstory on characters, but the current plot is still able to move along at a reasonable pace. Honestly, I’d be fine with some issues focusing solely on the past dealings of our current characters. Regardless, I’m still enjoying this book, and this issue was a nice change of pace. I know Hickman loves to keep everything jumbled and moving slow, then suddenly blow all our minds by tying everything together in a great way. I trust Hickman and Dragotta, so I’m sticking with East of West. I know something epic is just around the corner and I want to be on board to witness it.