This is the world. It is not the one we wanted, but it is the one we deserved. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse roam the Earth, signaling the End Times for humanity, and our best hope for life, lies in DEATH!
Always on the lookout for new comics to devour, East of West by Jonathon Hickman popped up on my radar about a month ago. An alternate reality about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? I was definitely intrigued! My excitement only grew when my local comic book store owner started singing it’s praises. “This comic is AMAZING,” he said. “I know you are going to love it! It’s probably one of my favourite comics right now!”
While I personally wouldn’t call East of West my favourite comic, it certainly packs a punch! The world that Hickman has imagined, and Dragotta has brought to life through his illustrations, is wild and turbulent. Fulfilling a prophecy long foretold, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have returned and are preparing for the destruction of the world. When Conquest, Famine, and War awaken, however, they discover that Death has abandoned them. Holding a grudge against the other Horsemen for their past actions, Death roams the Earth searching for something that he has lost, and seeking revenge against those who stole it from him.
The narrative of the story starts out slowly, and is full of confusion, BUT DON’T GIVE UP!!! The initial lag in East of West doesn’t last long, and things literally explode around chapter four. When I reached the last page, I immediately ran to look up when Volume 2 would be getting published, because I was so anxious to find out what happens next!
By far my favourite character in the series so far is Death. Complex and mysterious, I loved getting to see bits and pieces of his past get revealed chapter by chapter. Other characters caught my attention as well, like Death’s two Native companions, Wolf and Crow, and I can’t help but hope that we’ll learn more about them in the issues of East of West to come.
While I wasn’t a huge fan of Dragotta’s art style at first, it grew on me with every page that I turned. The blending of the Old West with Science Fiction was genius, and made this apocalyptic world seem even more brutal and savage. The depiction of the Horsemen, especially Famine, was fabulous! I was completely repulsed during the opening scene where the three horsemen are “re-born,” and every time I caught a glimpse of Famine’s face I felt like shuddering.
The Bottom Line: East of West is slow and confusing at first, but it’s worth it! Due to the slow pace in the plot, however, this is probably a comic that is better to buy in trade rather than the monthly issues (which would probably start to feel tedious after a while).
Rating: 4 Stars