Friday, March 29, 2013

East of West #1

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Dragotta

While I'm not entirely sure I have a handle on everything that's going on in this new series, I am definitely swept up in it, and am very excited to be able to enjoy another Jonathan Hickman-written creator-owned series.

In terms of tone, this book is closer to his Marvel work than his current book The Manhattan Projects, or any of his earlier Image mini-series like Pax Romana.  It feels like Hickman has a sprawling, involved story to tell in this series, and that he's going to take his time doing so, much like he did with his epic Fantastic Four run.

This series is set in an America that underwent some alternate history from our own.  When the book opens, modern American territory is split into various factions, including a vibrant and sovereign indigenous territory.  We know that the peace between these regions was hard-won, but we don't know a whole lot more than that.

The book is split between two stories - one involves a trio of children who come out of some sort of portal, surprised at the absence of a fourth.  It doesn't take long to recognize that these three are Horsemen of the Apocalypse (although there is a Conquest and not a Pestilence).  They've been reborn, and aren't all happy about that.

We also follow a different trio, a white man and two Aboriginal companions, all of whom are shown as being all in white (or black, as the mood fits).  We know that they are looking for the people who had arranged to have them dead, and that leads to one of them paying a visit to the President of The Union.

Hickman is making it clear that this book is going to be very bloody, but I really don't know what more to expect from this title.  Nick Dragotta is an incredible artist, and he adjusts his style nicely to fit this darker material.  As always with a Hickman independent book, I worry about its shipping schedule (anyone know what's going on with The Secret?), especially since I can't wait to read the next issue.

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