Jonathan Hickman’s East of West # 2 continues to set the table with an impressive blend of genres. “East of West” is never truly sure of what type of story it is. Which may be its greatest strength, or its biggest weakness. The story here remains massive and as much more of the plot unravels, it manages to stay completely engrossing, but still mildly confusing.
WRITTEN BY: Jonathan Hickman
ART BY: Nick Dragotta
RELEASE: April 24th, 2013
The slow boil continues, and this issue manages to be just as densely packed with information as the first issue was. Yet, here some of this information is beginning to make sense. The world is coming together, and we finally are beginning to understand the role Hickman’s characters play within it.
Don’t get too excited. Things still don’t make a whole lot of sense, not from what I could put together given the information on the pages. Yet, the issue still operates with breakneck pace and manages to keep things interesting. The action is dialed back from what we had seen in the first issue. World building takes center stage in the second issue. We are beginning to understand how and why our characters are in this world, and just how the apocalypse may come about.
It still feels amazing to have Hickman and Dragotta reunited on a new book. Dragotta’s art doesn’t slack whatsoever. Often issues that feature a lot of dialogue tend to slump in the art department. Dragotta begins the issue with a wonderful symphony of death that will wash any fears away. A beautiful mixture of thoughtful closeups and more emotionally distant medium shots allow the dialogue scenes to feel varied. Dragotta certainly has a strong talent in facial expressions; as such the art often speaks more than the dialogue accompanying it.
Again this issue is densely packed with information. Information that is beginning to make sense, but still makes for an inherently flawed issue. Hickman’s motivation is clear, which is the key to any good story. Yet, the story is shrouded in a thick fog of mystery. Which again, results in the reader asking themselves a multitude of questions. The answers have been slowly rolling out, but the fear of ultimate clarity remains Hickman’s biggest weakness. Hickman seems to love having the reader ask questions. Just, for the love of God, give us good answers.
The dystopian future has never looked more appealing. Hickman’s characters and story remain just as engrossing despite a slower pace for issue two. Hopefully Hickman can kick the action into high gear soon. “East of West” is wildly inventive, original, and a story that embraces the comic book medium. We very well may be on the ground floor of a new masterpiece here.
Reviewed by – Jimbus_Christ