East of West is set in the future of an America where the country was split into seven distinct countries after the Civil War. The end times are coming, and one of the Four Horseman, Death, has his own mission. It’s a sprawling story with a lot of characters., and I just finished Volume 5.
So, how did this part of the story published by Image go?
Well, not much happens. Don’t get me wrong: it’s fine work. I dig the series. Jonathan Hickman’s writing and Nick Dragotta’s artwork is still as sharp as ever. The thing here is aside from getting more backstory on the supporting character Doma, assistant to the religious fanatic Union President, and an assassination attempt on Death’s wife, the Mao, there isn’t much going on here aside from some table-setting. A message from the Prophet of the Messenger sends out a summons to all the participants to come for one final meeting. The reactions are good and varied, some storylines for the future are set up, and we get to finally see the inner workings of the Endless Nation, the area of land ruled by the Native Americans, and the most technologically advanced country on the continent.
As such, I have to wonder how people reading this from month to month deal with it. I like the story, it seems to be going somewhere, and I trust Hickman has the whole thing more or less planned out, but this was five issues of snail’s pace plot progress. There’s some character work, a revelation about the nature of the Horsemen, and that’s about it. I don’t think this story will ultimately be about preventing the end of all things, but what we have here is just that nice character work, a very good action sequence involving ninjas, and political trickery from multiple agents. I am digging that sort of thing, but I get why many might not. Eight and a half out of ten painfully-written prophecies.