Writer: Jonathan Hickman / Artist: Nick Dragotta / Image Comics
Look, following the near perfect issue that was East of West # 22 last issue, the plot was going to have to slow down and regroup itself after the failed coup attempt. This issue begins as the last one ended, with Colonel figuring out what he was going to do after the failed assassination attempt on House of Mao. Hickman makes up for the lack of dialogue last issue by getting pretty longwinded in some sections this time around. But that doesn’t imply that the wordiness isn’t functional, especially with the Colonel using the analogy of a spider spinning his web while talking with his co-conspirator. It was quite appropriate.
This issue also highlighted the return of John Freeman, first heir to the Kingdom. In a move that surprises no one, John might have some motivations and ambitions that aren’t compatible with his father’s. He finally makes his move and it promises to have repercussions on the rest of the war.
Dragotta as usual does a great job handling both the dialogue heavy moments and the brief moments of action. There a few pages of flashback to John and his relationship with Wolf that showcase the lighter and more sincere moments of this world and Dragotta shows a deft touch in applying that sentiment.
East of West slows down just a bit, but we get to revisit with a character we hadn’t seen in a while in how they tie into this overall conflict. So far in this arc, we’ve touched upon different characters and their relationship to the overall conflict, rotating between plotting and physical warfare. Even with more dialogue heavy issues like this one, it’s still a good ride.