East of West review
by Lauren Amaro
As the summer begins to draw to a close and our friends begin leaving town to head back to their respective colleges, many UO students may find themselves looking for something to fill their time until September 26th rolls around. A great way to fill your sudden free time is by grabbing a comic book and starting a new series! One of my favorite ongoing series, and the one I recommend most often to friends, is East of West, written by Jonathan Hickman, drawn by Nick Dragotta, colored by Frank Martin and lettered by Rus Wooton.
The story itself takes place in a reimagined America in which the country developed into a series of splintered nations that stemmed from the Union, the Confederacy, African slaves, Native Americans, Chinese exiles, and Texan separatists, each with their own agenda and niche to fulfill. For example, The Nation of the American Endless, a technologically advanced society that arose from the Lakota People, provides other nations with technology far inferior to what they use themselves; while the Kingdom of New Orleans operates under a monarchy that exercises an economic stronghold over the other nations. However, the main conflict of the series arises from “The Message”, a recurring prophecy in which the four horseman are reborn and bring about the end of the world with the help of the chosen ones. Only this time around, one of the four horsemen, Death, begins actively working against the other horsemen for reasons of family, love, and retribution.
As the series progresses, you get drawn into plot as you’re introduced to each character. You slowly begin to discover their motivations and realize that nothing is what it seems. East of West could rival Game of Thrones in terms of plot twists as more conspiracies and corruption comes to light and you find yourself on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what comes next. East of West also does an amazing job of incorporating different genres into a singular narrative. From Western to Cyberpunk, Prophecy to Southern Gothic, and Apocalyptic this book touches on them all and delivers a compelling look into how far people will go for the things that they love, and how fast others will drop them in order to save their own skin.
All in all, East of West is a spectacular example of world building done right and when coupled with the amazing art that Dragotta provides it’s an absolute knock out. If you’re suffering from superhero fatigue or just looking to get into a phenomenal series, then I would definitely recommend visiting your local library or comic shop to pick up a copy of East of West, Vol. 1 today!