Talk That Comic Book Talk: East of West – Part 1

On The Up Top

Your big wheel was never that gangsta
Jonathan Hickman – Writer
Nick Dragotta – Artist
Frank Martin – Colours

I’m hoping to start a podcast soon with the name given above. While I build up to that I’ll try and flex my comic book discussion muscles with these posts. Please mind the birthing fluids, it’s gotten all over the place.

If you haven’t guessed yet from the title of this post, I’ll be discussing… trying to figure out what the ever lovin’ hell is going on in the comic book East of West, specifically issue 01 and 02. Expect a rambling train of thought as opposed to a cogent argument/summary/interpretation.

Spoilers after the cut.

Context

East of West is an alternate history western that follows the dealings of The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse as they attempt to bring about the end of the world as was prophesied in The Message.

Only not really as this is a quartet divided. Why?

Something is wrong with the world itself, something is off. The title of the comic certainly suggests as much. As does the cover blurb:

“This is the world. It’s 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.”

So it is not just that the world is wrong, but that it is broken on a fundamental level. In flashbacks in issue 1 it is suggested that the “we” from the blurb was, if not the government then at least people in power.

Three’s Company

East of West 001-004
This isn’t right…

What is the significance of 3? Hickman has chosen the triangle as a prominent design element for this title  (as opposed to the circles of The Manhattan Projects). The Message was delivered in three parts from three mouthpieces. As Death stands apart ,the remaining Horsemen (War, Conquest & Famine) form their own Trinity while Death has two followers of his own (who and what are they?). Yet the main design element is made up of four triangles forming the greater one. In the flashback sequence, Death stands with 2 other horseman, where is the fourth.

We end up getting snippets of information that only invite more questions. Which great really, it allows engagement with the text. And unlike someone like J.J. Abrams that just keeps throwing mystery after mystery at you that are never resolved, Hickman is the master of sticking the landing (See Fantastic Four: Forever) .

I’m going to leave it here for now. I haven’t even gotten into the revelations in issue 2. But to be perfectly honest with you I didn’t even know what was going on in issue 1 until I read 2. It just looked pretty, now it makes a little more sense. More to come.

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