At Number 4, “East of West” continues to unveil an impressive narrative. I think I’m in love. This is such a cool comic. Don’t you love it? Of course, you do!
It is interesting how Jonathan Hickman has set up all these possibilities with a multi-layered plot but we can still cut to what matters most: Boy meets girl; Boy loses girl; Boy reunites with girl. In this case, the boy in question is Death and the girl in question is one really badass chick with a hell of a lot going on.
This issue is utterly beautiful in how it is choreographed. It’s really like a dance, a dance with Death brought to you in energetic artwork by Nick Dragotta and vivid color by Frank Martin. There isn’t a misspent panel to be found anywhere. It’s some fight to the death with Death! As you may recall from our last issue, Death was on his way to pay a visit to the current head of the House of Mao. So, yeah, prepare for some epic battle scenes. But, as you may also recall, Death has a plan so it’s not all about blood and guts. There’s definitely a plan.
After another read of this issue, and it lends itself well to rereading, I’m struck by its bold beauty. Hickman raises the stakes high and then goes higher. He sets up an elaborate design and then dares it all to come shattering down. He creates all this danger and mayhem and tosses in some characters to care about, maybe even worry about. There are a lot of clues here that tell you this story is full of purpose and won’t relent. There’s an urgency about it and you feel those stakes raising higher and higher. It’s all about the girl. Xialian. She’s the one who has, so far, put Death in his place.
“East of West #4” is available as of today. And #5 will be out July 31. Visit our friends at Image Comics here.