So you are little bit intimidated by the scale of East of West, and rightfully so, I wanted to talk about my experience reading this comic as well as maybe help some folks who are little nervous get into it.
Comic Title: East of West
Volume Title: Vol. 2: We Are All One
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Dragotta
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letters: Rus Wooton
Page #: 144
Genre: Science Fiction, Western
As I’m writing this post I’m not entirely certain whether I reviewed the first one or not but I’m leaning toward not. The only reason I say that is that this is perhaps one of the most confusing comics I have read. While that may seem intimidating hold on just a moment because I am going to tell you why its worth it.
I know that when I got back into comics and discovered Image as a company who put out a lot of things I love East of West put out a single issue that had all of the different factions mapped out. I remember thinking, if you need a dramatis personae for your comic you probably aren’t doing it right. While I do think having that would have been helpful when I picked up the first volume I no longer think that its such a bad thing.
I’m sure there are plenty of people who abandoned it because there were too many people, it was too confusing, etc. I mean I myself often talk about how too large a cast of characters is one of the main reasons I can’t ever seem to finish Game of Thrones, and yet… and yet.
I think that the artist did a really great job of illustrating each faction so that they visually represent something. I’m not quite sure how I feel about them all being along racial lines, but at the same time it means that you see someone and you instantly understand where they are coming from and what their values are. I think that this also allowed for interesting discussions on history, this world seems to share some portions of our own history, but somewhere along the lines separate but equal was taken to the extreme.
There are moments where I feel like it strays a bit into stereotyping but it always seems to push past that to something more. The things that seem stereotypical have different motivations and lead somewhere that I wasn’t expecting.
While I wasn’t entirely sold on the art style I think that it has grown on me and I am actually very impressed by how many different characters there are that all are very distinct. The problem with a huge cast of characters is that they can become confused and like I said not only is their style showing the faction they belong to but is entirely their own. There is no confusing characters in this way. Even Low, which I love, sometimes has a character whose design is so close to another’s that I momentarily forget who I’m looking at, and context usually irons it out for me, but I don’t even need that here.
In any case, I said in my goodreads review and I’ll say it again, I cannot wait to get the third volume. I am so excited. This one was especially good and I hope that it keeps up the pace.