East of West (Volume 1) – The Promise by Jonathan Hickman

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“Love sends a man half way around the world… Just for the hope of catching it.”

— Jonathan Hickman, East of West (Volume 1) – The Promise

         Jonathan Hickman delivers a complicated, yet fascinating tale revolving around the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It’s not because the plot is intricate and demands a level of analysis beyond simple pleasure-reading to thoroughly enjoy. In fact, it’s the execution and the effort put it in by the author to setup East of West that brings nothing more than confusion and gives the impression of a fragmentary creation. Set in a Western dystopian America where civil war is still in action, a prophecy, also known as “The Message” is brought back to life with the arrival of War, Famine, Conquest and Death. However, Jonathan Hickman brings readers a little twist. War, Famine and Conquest arrive on Earth under the form of children, while Death is missing. Our infamous character is in fact represented as a white cowboy who seeks to find the one thing that defeated him a while back. This volume, collecting issues #1 to 5, is a work of science fiction that plenty of fans have read and appreciated. His work also extends to the Marvel universe and is currently working on a bunch of comics set in the Marvel NOW! paradigm.

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“No. It’s not a game. This is the world. It is not the one we were supposed to have, but it’s the one we made.

We did this. We did it with open eyes and willing hands. We broke it, and there is no putting it back together.

But I’m damned already… so at least I’m going to try.”

— Jonathan Hickman, East of West (Volume 1) – The Promise

       Jonathan Hickman’s take on the Four Horsemen is quite unique and definitely piqued my interest. Although he might have stumbled a little too much with the first couple issues, the direction of this story arc definitely seems promising for its future volumes. East of West is not an easy read, and the graphic content definitely proves it. De facto, the artwork is clear, vibrant and strong on violence. The gore itself is satisfactory and never seizes to surprise me. The volume also has a slight inclination towards history; although it’s a historical context that was re-imagined from the start. However, a lot of cliches can be found regarding the dystopian universe and the cowboy’ish vibe that you find in this book. East of West also plays around cliffhangers, issues after issues. Ultimately, it’s only once you reach the halfway mark that you start to piece things together and find the real purpose of every character that figures in this volume. Discovering “The Message” and finding out what drives Death to do what he’s doing—which is not the apocalypse, as he’s supposed to be doing with his fellow evil friends—is what makes East of West an intriguing universe.

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“When you come fact to face with love, and before the sun sets, you become someone you didn’t used to be. It makes the old things new. Makes dead things live. Love makes you into something better.”

— Jonathan Hickman, East of West (Volume 1) – The Promise

         The ending of volume 1 still manages to be climatic and interesting enough to keep me going on with series. There’s a lot that Jonathan Hickman could do to deliver a story with the Four Horsemen as primordial characters, but his ideas still remain fresh and filled with potential. East of West (Volume 1) is an entertaining debut to the series and has plenty of angle to tackle upon in order to deliver a compelling story. It’s not all in the hands of Jonathan Hickman. As long as the artwork continues to remain stunning and relatively aggressive due to Death’s own nature, this series will need help in the writing if it wants to survive in this crude, crude world. In hopes of finding more content—yes, this was a fairly quick read—in the next volume, I’m also looking forward to seeing how the storylines are going to surprise me. I wonder if the story will find order in all this chaos. After all, it is an apocalypse we’re talking about!

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As always, don’t forget to share your thoughts on this trade paperback and this review, as well as like and follow us as we continue to get you guys reviews to enjoy. Are you still interested in this comic book? You can purchase a copy of East of West (Volume 1) – The Promise by clicking on this hyperlink!

My overall rating: ★★★☆☆/

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