Written by Tim Midura
on Friday, December 27 2013 and posted in Reviews
Martial Law Comes To The Union. Thank The President.
Jonathan Hickman’s latest creator-owned series steamrolls on, with Nick Dragotta on art and Frank Martin on colors. From Image Comics, East of West #8 continues the sci-fi western as we follow all four horsemen of the apocalypse. The cover by Dragotta and Martin is of Death taking a leisurely nap on his trusty steed.
Opening with the President overlooking the Union on fire, she has a discussion about managing the livestock with her Chief of Staff. Meanwhile, Death is still traveling with his avatars, Crow and Wolf, inside a giant spiral prison, where he meets with the Oracle. Then, the President has to deal with the aftermath of declaring martial law in the Union.
Jonathan Hickman never stops world building, whether it’s through the introduction of new, mysterious characters like the Oracle or showing just how evil the President really is. It’s interesting to see how the other three horsemen are the ones pulling the strings behind the President. While quelling the ensuing riot, she says the indifferent and honest line, “I beg you, do not confuse me with the politicians you are used to...I don’t deal in hope.” She provides a cold, calculated character in contrast to Death. Death is a tragic, likeable character, which is something not expected in a horsemen of the apocalypse. When we meet the Oracle, we find out what Death is truly after.
Nick Dragotta brings a high level of detail to East of West. His cityscapes are busy with flying cars and tall buildings, while even simple scenes, such as the prison, feature brilliant, deep linework. His full page spread of the Oracle’s face is equally awe-inspiring and terrifying. Frank Martin’s colors are the perfect complement to Dragotta’s art. Death and his avatars are mostly black and white, so Martin brings them to life with over fifty shades of gray. Also, he uses a great mix of oranges and blues to show the difference between the rioters and the police, respectively. The gruesome flashbacks pop off the page with bright red panels as projected from slides.
Jonathan Hickman’s books always have a great sense of design thematically through them. A sci-fi western from him is a no-brainer, especially with such a talented art team. I can’t wait for Death and the President’s paths to converge, largely as we know now what Death is after.
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