East of West #15

by Kalem Lalonde on September 11, 2014

Say what you will about Jonathan Hickman, but you can’t deny he is a master at long-term storytelling.


East of West has been a fairly enigmatic series thus far. Offering you glimpses of the past yet not revealing many details. Hickman writes with deliberate obfuscation which can annoy some readers. At this point, if you haven’t enjoyed this series there is no turning back. However, if you have been enjoying it, this could be one of your favourite issues yet.


Following the outbreak of war, Hickman turns the series to the son of Death and Xialolian. In one issue, Hickman is capable of establishing a threat greater than any we’ve seen in this book, including the upcoming war. Fortunately, though there isn’t a lack of characterization. The dialogue shifts from scientifically complex, to childish and it surprisingly works very well. The actions this child carries out are convincing given his past influences and some of them are even frightening. His lack of a name is used to explore Hickman’s philosophical ideas about names. The child states that names are used to convey humanity and inject compassion. It’s an interesting concept and theme for the latter half of this issue.


There is no shortage of story material in this book and Hickman continues to add plot elements that are somehow all captivating. This is really his answer to Game of Thrones. He isn’t limited to budget constraints or continuity, he’s putting all his imaginative power into this series. The second year of this series will really depict this evidently with all the conflicts that were set-up in the first 15 issues. The war between the nations, Death’s crusade to find his son, the deceitful Archibald, the mysterious past and now the beast of the apocalypse. If it were any other writer, I would be worried that the story would collapse under all these ideas, becoming chaotic and unbalanced. However, I know Jonathan Hickman will make it exciting and enthralling. The end of this issue and arc ascertain a clear sense of direction for the future of this series, it’s a great set-up to what will undoubtedly become a great payoff.


Despite being a predominantly great issue, it does start off with an irrelevant scene. It isn’t bad, but considering the themes of this issue it doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the story.


Nick Dragotta continues to dynamically bring Hickman’s expansive world to life. He is as adept at expressing emotion as he is at drawing gory action sequences. His character designs are great and at this point I couldn’t imagine another artist pencilling this series.


Overall, this was an amazing finale to the first year and arc of East of West. It set-up the future, established new threats for this world and exacerbated it’s already critical state. If you like complex, yet rewarding series’, East of West is not one you should pass up on.


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