Image Comic’s East of West Vol. 1

GameStop, Inc.

by Whitney Grace
Staff Writer

East of WestPretty vague title, eh? On first appearances the comic reminds me of a pulp gritty pulp western. I expected to be dealing with a rendition of the tried-true cowboy tale with some modern twist like Cowboys and Aliens, except without the aliens. East of West does take place in world reminiscent of gunslingers, horses, buttes, and bad guys in black hats, but it is set in a dystopian future with the four horsemen of the apocalypse trying to recoup their powers. The four horsemen have reverted to child bodies, though they are far from innocent. They seek to destroy the world, of course, but they are down one compatriot. Death abandoned his old post, not because he does not want destruction, but because his son is missing. Death made the mistake of falling in love with a human and having a child. Death cannot his ignore his work nor the apocalypse. Death’s wife and son are still alive, but have been taken from him in all ways. She hates him and the son has been stolen and locked away. Why? They think the kid is the beast of the apocalypse and key to destroying the world.

East of West relies on an unexplained complex storyline. In the first volume, we get the barest of details about characters, plot, and purpose. Three of the four horsemen are children, they had fallout with death–most likely related to ruining his family, and there is some plot to annihilate the world. Some elements are interesting: the setting, characters, and the concept of Death seeking revenge for his family. The rest of the story is awash in an overhanging past. It is understandable that this storytelling approach was used to garner reader’s interest, but it also contributes to confusion. You don’t know what the characters’ driving motivation will be until the end and while it does hook you into reading volume two, it is more to clear up confusion. Makes you question if you really want to.

The drawings blend horror, western , and sci-fi attributes and without them I would not have finished the comic. The art is the real driving force, because like much of he story it has a mystery quality. Everything is recognizable as the appropriate object or character and all he panels are in the right place, but things are drawn in such a way that y know there are secrets hiding in the shadows. The only way to figure them out is to keep reading even if you get lost.

It is not a very strong first novel, but there is potential for the rest of the series. Something bigger is going on in East of West, but you will probably have to wait awhile before it is revealed.

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