Writer: Jonathan Hickman / Artist: Nick Dragotta / Image Comics
A word I would never imagine using to describe East of West is tender and touching, and yet its hard to describe this issue any other way. Since Death finally met up with his son Babylon, we’ve only caught glimpses of their journey on the road. This issue however focused on them almost exclusively and the result was dare I say heart warming at times and way too real at others. The issue may start with seeing the bemoaning of his former/fellow horseman missing out on the war, but the family dynamic surely takes center stage.
Father of Babylon, Master of None
Hickman scripts with a wonderful precision to show why exactly it was Death that broke from the horseman. While we see their brutality and reveling in debauchery, Death, is in all ways being the best late arriving father he can be. Death teaches Babylon how to fish and skip stones for much of the book and it almost makes you forget that the war to end all wars is going on. Still, we can see that Death is most likely racing towards something he cannot control, which makes the tension increase with every humanizing lesson taught.
Then there’s Balloon. Man, so much great work is being done here. Between Babylon, his beast prophecy, Balloon as his guide and Death’s skepticism of all of it. something is going to compromise the other eventually. The great part is that this book has thrown us so many curves, its hard to predict which.
Its almost too easy to say that Dragotta does great building atmosphere and tone this issue as well. Though much of it is conveyed in dark imagery and foreshadowing, the comedic beats and quiet dialogue moments are drawn perfectly and give the book a great pacing.
The creators have wound us up again and given us great exposition for what comes next. We finally got the famous “you deserve what’s coming to you” line and I can’t help but think Hickman is talking to us. If you’ve invested this much into East of West thus far, we’re heading towards a climax you can’t help but look forward to.
Reading East of West? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.