Comic Vine Review

15 Comments

East of West #7 - Seven: The Pilgrimage Review

4

With The Ranger in play, The Chosen are destined to die. For some, things could be worse.

The Good

Having just put The Chosen on notice for their eventual (and imminent) ends, Hickman and Dragotta shift back to lore mode as they reveal how history and The Horsemen brought one of The Chosen to his current state of agony. This month's EAST OF WEST features three intercutting tales; two in the present (accounting for all four of The Horsemen) and one in the past (building out backstory and illuminating Ezra Orion's destiny).

Casting the Horsemen and others about the world on various missions provides ample opportunity to make the story world richer and deeper, while remaining on-point with the direction of the current arc (in this case, giving us more information about The Chosen, who have been established as antagonists/prey to The Ranger). Death and his companions show us a new, mystical location, and the other Horsemen bring us from 0 to Tower at Armistice. It's amazing how much expanse is covered in a single issue; geographically and historically, we took in a lot of information this month.

As always, there are layers to be discovered and savored, and there are thought-provoking constructs embedded in the narrative. The child of Conquest, conquered. The burden of service rendered as a painful and literal burden. The pervasive notion of prices and payment -- for Pilgrims, for Death, and for Ezra Orion. Reading EAST OF WEST comes with the distinctive sense of reading something more literary than usually encountered in comics, and it's the sprinkling of smart little motifs throughout that generates that feeling.

Nothing is throwaway in EAST OF WEST. Every character is important (Ezra certainly isn't just an anonymous Chosen now!), and every little detail seeded into the book is there for a reason. The issue's title -- and the way it echoes the beginning and end of Ezra Orion -- is thoughtful and unaccidental. The spire at Armistice isn't just a spire. Conquest's repetition isn't just a mantra. Even the Beast's single speech balloon feels carefully chosen for its nature (I'll let you look up the Latin translation on your own; it's not a family-friendly phrase). If nothing else, this book is decisive and planned.

The Bad

Death's escapades in The Mirrors aren't as immediately interesting as the other two stories; if he's not using the lakes for their scrying talents, and they're "just a way through," there are an awful lot of panels spent on a fancy detour. I'm hoping for some payoff in the next issue; the Lady has potential to make this vignette feel more purposeful than a check-in on Death.

The Verdict

Never. Stop. Worldbuilding. The team behind EAST OF WEST continues to enrich their world's history, environments, and magic, issue after issue. No stone is left unturned, and no beast is left without character, and it maintains the immersive quality that fans have come to expect. Catching glimpses of the epic history that brought both The Horsemen and The Chosen (some in lock step) to their current positions is a fantastic way to generate interest in the doomed agents of the end times and move this arc forward.

16 Comments
Posted by TheFirstLantern

@missj okay so I've been a little confused, Death is the fourth horseman?

Posted by MissJ

@thefirstlantern: He is. The four are Conquest, War, Famine, and Death -- they're just split apart right now because of all that business in the first five issues.

Staff
Posted by TheFirstLantern

@missj said:

@thefirstlantern: He is. The four are Conquest, War, Famine, and Death -- they're just split apart right now because of all that business in the first five issues.

Oh sweet thank you, I have been confused and I have not read this one yet.

Posted by MissJ

@thefirstlantern: No worries! I've actually thought about doing an article or two to break down the literary references in Hickman books. (Would that be interesting?)

Staff
Posted by TheFirstLantern

@missj said:

@thefirstlantern: No worries! I've actually thought about doing an article or two to break down the literary references in Hickman books. (Would that be interesting?)

Yes of course. It would really help anyone who was/is lost. The book is great but also convoluted.

Posted by TobenRacicot
@missj said:

@thefirstlantern: No worries! I've actually thought about doing an article or two to break down the literary references in Hickman books. (Would that be interesting?)

yeah Jen do it! i would appreciate that and i think a many folk would! it may help others break into the series too!

Posted by hufnagel0
@missj said:

@thefirstlantern: No worries! I've actually thought about doing an article or two to break down the literary references in Hickman books. (Would that be interesting?)

Please do! I love the spoiler-filled analysis of East of West on Multiversity Comics (not to pimp another site, just mentioning it), and I can't get enough of peoples' outlooks on the series.

As for this issue, I friggin loved it. Seeing Conquest in the previews it seemed so weird to see how genuinely concerned he was for Ezra, and by the end I really felt for the both of 'em. This book has rocketed to the top of my favorite titles.

Edited by Cavemold

Really loved this issue ! i thought it was 5/5 for me. One horsemen chosen child was really interesting. His back story of pilgrim village be desolated was crazy. Very dark issue .

Posted by ngrey651

Why should we side with the four horsemen?

Posted by MissJ

@ngrey651: We don't necessarily have to. Hickman and Dragotta give us plenty of opportunities to decide who's most sympathetic -- Death, the other three Horsemen (War, Famine, Conquest), The Chosen, The Ranger, Xiao -- or if we even like anyone. It's a complicated piece, and the decision of whom to side with is equally nuanced.

That said, since the primary objective of the three Horsemen is to restore equilibrium (given that Death is behaving against-model), it's easy to side with them because the (prior) status quo is less destructive than an impending apocalypse (or worse).

Staff
Posted by hufnagel0

@missj: Gotta disagree with your last assessment on that one. The three horsemen's primary objective is to execute The Message (end of the world) using the Chosen as their pawns. While I agree that this latest chapter give us more reason to feel for at least Conquest, and Xiao and The Ranger had brilliant and arresting introductions into the story that make them so easy to root for, it's all about Death for me. The lengths to which he'll go for the love of his family seal him as the most empathetic character. The potential catch being, where was he when the three horsemen came for Xiao? I'm hooked deep.

Posted by _Marc_74

Cant wait. this series is just epic in design and scale. Love it

Yes missJ do an article please

Posted by _Marc_74

really enjoyed reading this, its all hotting up and i just cant wait each month

this should be made into a huge anime movie. now!!!!

Posted by illustrate303

@hufnagel0: Your totally right that other chick you disagree with is way off. She doesnt understand what is going on in the comic obviously and should re read it.

Edited by illustrate303

@missj: Way off! Don't write summaries about plots you dont understand. Your just going to feed people info about a GREAT comic thats not correct and confuse people even more.