Comic Vine Review


East of West #8 - Eight: The Street is Burning Review


In which we love to hate everyone, because corruption and cruelty abound.

The Good

The latest installment of EAST OF WEST features an incisive and powerful critique of the political systems of Hickman' and Dragotta's world; there's a vibe reminiscent of V FOR VENDETTA as Madame President's unwavering plan to suppress and control her people is revealed. She's one of The Chosen, so we know she's marked for death, but before we bid her adieu, we're going to see just how cold and lethal she is. It's an excellent spotlight on a character that we've seen before in a relatively background-relegated role, and the President is brilliantly cruel and dispassionate.

Death, too, gets a moment in this issue; still on his quest to find his son, he ventures into a tower prison rendered in spectacular form by Nick Dragotta. I cannot say enough wonderful things about the art in these particular sequences; it's consistently top-notch throughout the book, but especially here, when Dragotta makes excellent use of heavy blacks (and Martin comes in with strategic glows), the dramatic effect on the page is stunning.

While light on high action, this issue delivers a fantastic examination of the-way-things-are, perfectly teeing up for impending chaos. The Horsemen have a plan, Death is on a mission, and everything is about to converge, so Hickman and Dragotta drag us further into our investment in this world by showing just how everything functions at street-level and behind the curtains. It works; I can't wait to see if the cattle stay suppressed, what happens when the Ranger comes for Madame President, and how Death might throw a wrench in all of it.

The Bad

This issue suffers from just a bit of "solicit let-down." I expected to learn more about the three Horsemen and their grand plans, and got little more than a solid allegiance from the President and a desire to keep the population sedate; the endgame is barely hinted at, and we aren't fully sure why the Horsemen are doing what they're doing. I didn't hate the spotlight on Madame President; I'm just left hanging a bit on what her apocalyptic bosses are up to.

The Verdict

Hickman and Dragotta are master craftsmen, building a world that gets more and more robust and wonderful with every passing issue. Learning about the history and politics of their grand dystopia is a pleasure every month; Dragotta's pages are striking and beautiful, and Hickman's narrative increases in both scope and detail as the series progresses. It's a book worth re-reading, just to find every nuance, every carefully crafted piece of the environment. There might not be an appropriate string of genres to apply to EAST OF WEST (I think the best I can come up with is "pre-apocalyptic Biblical-infused alt-history with sci-fi and fantasy notes and a Western motif"), but the series is interesting and well-crafted, and deserving of a spot on many readers' pull lists.

16 Comments Refresh
Posted by Cavemold

I love the art here and I felt it was natural progression the president of US got basically one shot showing who she is . I hope we learn about the e other horsemen and Death supporting cast. Iwowouldnt take solicits seriously Jen. I know tony doesn't. Also the art was amazing 5/5 by itself. Amazing prisoner in chains picture

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Disappointed to see no review of Locke and Key final issue. :(

Posted by MissJ

@cavemold: I agree that the art was fantastic (and I dig the President!). I tend to hold Image solicits to a harder standard because they're written by the creators, not just some random person at the company who isn't up-to-date on where each issue is going.

Posted by TheFirstLantern

I so love this book.

Posted by MissJ

@madeinbangladesh: Wait, nobody grabbed that one? Shoot...I just assumed someone else had called dibs :( I loved it.

Posted by AllStarSuperman
Posted by inferiorego

Disappointed to see no review of Locke and Key final issue. :(

I only read it in trade, so I have to wait until February....

Posted by _Marc_74

Great epic series. Will sit down and marathon read this Saturday and digital buy this latest. I just love the world be created and want more and more

Posted by G_Money_Christmas

I have this on my pull list but my last name starts with a W, so they ran out before they got to my name... Sometimes being at the end of the alphabet sucks. I didn't think about that. I should have given a fake name: /

Posted by _Marc_74

my name is near the end also (S) so means they dont dispatch till end of month, but its reserved for me

Edited by MissJ

@g_money_christmas: Seriously? How do they not get copies for everyone who has it on their list + some extras?

Posted by spinningbirdcake

In which we love to hate everyone pretty much sums it up. Not a redeemable soul in sight and I kind of love that.

Posted by MissJ
Posted by skyjumpermike

This is one of those titles that you have to re-read all the previous issues to know what is going on (at least I do). So, it's the only title that I buy the comic and the trade just so don't have to take each book out of a bag to read it. I think after a few more issues and everything will be more established and it will be easier to remember all the characters and what is going on.

Edited by Jake Fury

This book is a masterpiece. I was planning on trade waiting but couldn't resist. Went and got issues 6-8 since my copies of 6 & 7 are back home in Alabama.

Edited by illustrate303

@missj: I really dont think you understand whats going on in this comic yet. I mean no offense in that though. I sent you a message, about it. You said this in a issue 7 review on east of west, "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)." That could not be more wrong. Like I said re read the issue and maybe you will understand more. The four (three for now since Death is awol) are to bring the end of the world! A.K.A The Apocalypse! Not restore equilibrium! There is nothing about the horseman that is good. I still love them though. We dont know exactly why or how yet but we know they are following "The Message" and " The Message" is the tell of the end of times.