Not since Saga has a comic come along which has take my breath away in the same manner as East of West. From a dense, world-building plot, to magnificent art, East of West hist the ground running and does not let up until the final page. In a world of expensive, if forgettable reads, East of West stands out as a shining example of what comics should be.
Set in a dystopian future created from an alternate history past, East of West tells the tale of the the recently revived Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Three of the horsemen, Famine, Conquest, and War realize that Death is not among them. He is off on his own mission, and that cannot be allowed. So they are off to find Death and bring him back into line.
Out in the wastelands, Death rides with his two pale companions. He is in search of the man who once betrayed him. That man just happens to be the President of the United States of America.
The first issue is all about the world building and character introduction. However the manner in which Hickman builds that world and introduces the characters pulls the reader in and immerses them in said world. The power and gravitas of each character busts from each panel, shaking the reader, demanding full attention.
The art by Nick Dragotta is far and away the best of his career. The character designs are striking. The panel layouts are powerful, and the story flows effortlessly across the page. There is not a bad panel in the book!
East of West is the debut of the year. It is to 2013 what Saga was to 2012. If there was any question that Image could repeat its success of the past year, then East of West should put those questions to rest.
East of West #1 is in stores now.