East of West continues to be one of my favorite series. In this fourth volume, HIckman and Dragotta continue to expand their complex world, even going so far as providing maps and timelines. This series is a little bit western, a little bit alternate history, a little bit science fiction, a little bit near-apocalyptic dystopia, a little bit social, political, and religious commentary, and a whole lot of action.
The United States is not united in this story. The South, Texas, the Native Americans, and the Chinese all have a territory and do not get along. In fact, all-out war festers due to political and religious conflict. To complicate matters, Death rides the plain, separated from his Horsemen because they want to destroy one of the only things he cares about – his son.
Each volume reveals new depths of story, and characters become more and more complex as the series progresses. Though there is a multitude of characters, each is given a moment to shine, and each is fascinating.
The artwork is surprisingly simple, yet always dynamic. Each character has a distinct body language and “look.” Death, in particular, always jumps off the page. The action flows from panel to panel, yet their is also a nuance to the scenes. You’ll find little details in the most unexpected places.
This is a must-read series.