Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Dragotta & Frank Martin
Published by Image Comics
East of West’s debut forces readers to pay close attention at all times and though the first-issue loads more questions than answers, it intelligently teases readers and intrigues us to keep reading. Hickman combines the history of Native Americans and the biblical-apocalyptic Four Horsemen to create a fascinating story in an interesting and alternate history to that of our own. The story opens with the rebirth of the three horsemen (War, Famine, and Conquest). They awake to realize that they have been abandoned by Death, and they vow to kill him. War, Famine, and Conquest are depicted as children, and though it is unclear why Death is not, I believe he may have awakened much earlier than they had.
Dragotta portrays Famine as a thin-female with a freaky bony figure, and bulging scary black eyes, Conquest as the school’s chubby bully, and War as the calm-cool kid on the block who wields a fiery dagger. Death is drawn in all white which differs from the norm of what death should look like, but because Death is fighting against the atrocities of the other horsemen, it appears he was depicted in all-white for fighting against what a Death character would normally do. Nick’s landscape portrays both a western and a technologically advanced world. Death travels using a black beetle-like vehicle or armored animal.
Two comrades who are no strangers to combat.
Death tracks down one of the hunters who had left him for dead. Death agrees to let the hunter live in exchange for the list of people who hired him (In the list is the President’s name). Death finds himself in a cold and calm state of revenge that implodes when he finds the President. He quickly toys with him and tosses him away, and if leaving you for dead wasn’t bad enough, it seems they may have taken something that that Death held very close to his now furious heart, but for the time being that remains a mystery.
Meanwhile, the wicked three horsemen seem to be behind a master plan cryptically referred to only as “The Message”, their murderous schemes centering around the new seat of presidency of the Seven Nations. The horsemen hasten around, killing over a dozen candidates until discovering one who has heard “The Message” and is a true believer. Ultimately, East of West’s debut appears to be a very ambitious one, and if one bears through the back-story created by the creative mind of Hickman, then the readers will get the satisfaction of another great story!