It's all spelled out in the solicit -- Someone shoots, someone gets shot, and someone dies. -- and yet, this issue unravels so beautifully that those words feel less like a spoiler and more like an invitation. We're back on the road with Death -- most of him, at least -- and the search for The Beast continues opposite The Ranger's own quest (Oh yeah, remember him? He's totally back, and not wasting a shred of time.).
The world that EAST OF WEST spans is unique and colorful, and Nick Dragotta continues to astound us with the images that pour from his brain to the page. He's equally at home in ultra-sleek teched-out towers and dusty Western landscapes, and refuses to skimp on detail. The world is beautiful, even when it's horrifyingly ugly. And when it's ugly? It's go-big-or-go-home time.
Speaking of go-big-or-go-home time…The Ranger is delivering on his promise in a most spectacular way. It's precise and calculated, but it's as explosive as it is deliberate. As meandering as Death's journey is, The Ranger's is direct and efficient -- hello, beautiful contrast. Hickman is choreographing this narrative like a ballet. A beautiful, broken, futuristic Western ballet.
I'm not a trade-waiter, I'm not a trade-waiter, I'm not a trade-waiter. As thoroughly as I enjoy reading this book every month, I'm increasingly leaning towards the opinion that it's much more consumable as one collected story. I'm going to go back and read issues #6-#10 as a single bundle (in other words, the way they'll be collected in the upcoming TPB), and wish that the next five issues would be released all at once for optimal binge-reading.
Hickman and Dragotta lay it on thick this month -- between the hefty doses of philosophy (who's right? what's righteous?) and some seriously killer visuals (monsters and murderers and shapeshifting, oh my), this isn't an issue to just flip through casually. Pay attention. Drink in the weird, wild world. Watch it take turn after turn. Then go back and read the first nine issues (or wait a couple of weeks for another fantastic trade), because this is a big-picture book that just happens to thrill with the details.