writer: Jonathan Hickman / artist: Nick Dragotta / Image Comics
“I believe in God, good cigars and strong liquor…who are these fools that still believe in people?”
After bringing us back in the previous issue with a daring rescue mission, Hickman slowed things back down to do a check in with the various factions and how they are faring during the war. We got to see, the Black Tower with Archibald now sitting high in the sky like he always planned to, Prince John Freeman is spending money faster than he can get it in The Kingdom (and still trolling his younger brother) and the Beast…well, the Beast is doing what he does with his pet Balloon: Figuring shit out. But the main draw and the majority of the real estate of the book is the conversation between Death and his wife, Xiaolian. It’s a marvelous back and forth, showing how different their personalities are and ultimately how they were drawn to each other in the first place. It’s funny to see that Death is the optimistic one when it comes to their son’s well being, but very smart in its portrayal.
The juxtaposition of their conversation and union coupled with Wolf wrestling with a solider from the Mao Dynasty was done really well and you have to credit Dragotta’s pencils just as much as Hickman’s storytelling for that. Their conversation was a back and forth struggle, both landing what they considered brutal truth and understanding on each other. It mimicked a dance just as much as the wrestling match going on outside of the tent. As usual Dragotta is just so good, even when the action is minimal.
This month, East of West takes a breather, checks in with everyone and gives us their status quo as we go deeper into the next arc. A bittersweet ending to this specific book as the foreshadowing of Xiaolian and Death mirrored that of Alana and Marko in Saga. But in this world, it more than likely means someone may not survive.