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Sunday, August 2, 2015

East of West Vol. 1: The Promise

Title: East of West Vol. 1: The Promise

ISBN: 9781607067702

Price: $9.99

Publisher/Year: Image, 2013

Artist: Nick Dragotta

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Collects: East of West #1-5

Rating: 4/5

I’ve had my eye on East of West for quite some time now and finally got a chance to read the first volume, which collects issues #1-5. Like the Hugo-award winning comic, Saga, East of West is an edgy science fantasy story. Loosely inspired by the Book of Revelation, it depicts the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who have reincarnated on Earth shortly after a new prophecy is given. Three of the Horsemen roam the countryside to fulfill the prophecy, but one renegade Horsemen — known simply as Death — is on a mission of his own.Traveling from city to city on a robotic horse, Death uses all means possible to find his wife and accomplish his goals.  Unfortunately, he’s probably humanity’s best shot at survival.

Weird westerns are almost a genre onto themselves and this series is as much of one as it is space fantasy. Following a meteor strike, borders are divided among the seven nations of America. We have characters that are vested in bringing about the apocalypse and others that have amassed large armies to defeat the horsemen and take over the world. The vast world takes a lot of time to develop and after five issues, I like the feel of where this is going, but there was minimal character development.

Unlike Saga, East of West has a serious and dark tone. Violence is abundant and the humor is sparse. But I love the general weirdness that slips into the comic, such as the strange talking eye that the barkeep must keep locked up in his metallic eye patch.

I will most definitely continue to read this comic to see where it is going. It is fast-paced and intriguing. The artwork is cleverly drawn and brings the SF-style western to life. As a fan of both original-content comics and science fiction, this comic is right up my alley. I’m hoping that we get a little more character and plot development in subsequent volumes, but I don’t feel it is premature to recommend that people give this a shot.

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