If there is one word to summarize this story so far, it is ‘epic’. Of all the comics I am currently reading, this one is my favorite, and has been since I picked it up in March 2013. I stumbled across this at my LCS and from the moment I finished the first issue, all I wanted was more.
One of the reasons I love this comic is because not all of the story is given to you at one time. It is very different than a lot of other comics out there which give you the story as issues come out. Although East of West does provide some ongoing storyline in every issue, a lot of the backstory isn’t revealed until later in the series, and, again, not all at once. It’s a puzzle that Hickman and Dragotta are only giving you the pieces to knowing that you will figure out how they go together (I will admit, I read all the issues as they come out, and the trades as those come out, and there are still pieces of story I feel like I’m missing).
Hickman is a great storyteller. The characters he creates are interesting, with history behind them, and motivations that aren’t fully known to the reader at the beginning of the story. There are a multitude of characters introduced in the first arc of this series, and I found it hard to keep some of them straight – especially the old white men. The most exciting characters for me were the past and present incarnations of the horsemen (see below). As for the story, I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say this: it’s a futuristic apocalyptic western that rewrites the history of the United States post-civil war. It is epic, and it’s awesome.
Another reason this comic is great is because of the world building. Many comics take place on a small scale such as a city or town. East of West takes place within an entire continent (North America, in particular the United States of America). That’s not what makes it special though. The uniqueness of this world stems from the differences between the different areas, and how well Dragotta has depicted these places, and how well Martin has been able to color and contrast them with each other. Whilst reading the comic, you almost always know where in the world you are because of how detailed and descriptive the art is.
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