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East of West #27: Chosen for Death

Written by Tyler Kes on Sunday, July 03 2016 and posted in Reviews

East of West #27: Chosen for Death

Excuse me, sir, do you have a moment to talk about the Word?

Source: Image Comics

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Drawn by Nick Dragotta
Colors by Frank Martin
Letters by Rus Wooton

One of the joys of reading East of West is seeing the ways the characters think they know something, only for that truth to be distorted, used against them or play out in another way. As this issue opens, Ezra, who by this point is full-on Akira-ing it, with bulging eyeballs and weird, fleshy growths, offers the Chosen the ultimate version of truth, one that is peddled frequently by religious zealot-types: the ability to know your ultimate fate and place in the world.

It is interesting to see the ways the characters react to this information. But whenever you get these people in the room, the shit is going to hit the fan, and it does in spectacular fashion. It's classic Hickman. Build and build and build until it seems like you can't stand the tension anymore, then sit back and watch the fireworks. So, here we have the characters debating things like Fate and Freedom and Important Issues, but eventually people get sick of the talking and we get a massive battle. Hickman has always done a really nice job of making things seem more epic than they probably are. He frequently accomplishes this by his narration boxes, capturing the thoughts of people as they face overwhelming odds. It makes you want to stand up and raise your fist in solidarity.

Nick Dragotta does a wonderful job of capturing the raw ferocity of people fighting in a confusing battle for their lives. He uses lots of tight, close-ups, focusing on the eyes frequently. There are lots of betrayals and last moment saves, and you never are quite sure who is helping who. It's great. Additionally, this issue showcases how much detail Dragotta puts into his work. There is a scene towards the end of the issue where he starts with a panel close up on two large monsters fighting, then in each subsequent panel, he zooms out more and more. In the last panel, the two monsters can still be seen, but your eye can't help but focus on the massive army of the damned that is now surrounding them. It helps drive home the pointlessness and futility of the initial battle.

One of my favorite parts of East of West has always been the coloring work of Frank Martin and that does not change here. There's just an earthy feel that permeates the entire series, keeping it grounded in the Old West, even though you have things like giant tongue monsters and animal people.

East of West appears to be approaching the series endgame and lots of big things happen in this issue. It has almost everything that fans of the series love in it. If you are a regular reader, then obviously pick this up. If you've never read the series before, this is a terrible place to start, but it is a pretty good snapshot of what the series is like.


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About the Author - Tyler Kes

Tyler Kes is from Minnesota, although he spent some time living in West Virginia, where he graduated from Marshall University in 2013. He spent some time honing his writing skills by working at a newspaper and then at a TV station, but now makes his living making tacos and writing about comics.
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