Top positive review
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I loved it, but not everyone will.
on 4 September 2014
Before I go into depth about how much I enjoyed this comic I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the many sound arguments the previous reviewer, Sam Quixote made. I picked up East of West on a whim not knowing what to expect but knew quickly that this would be a comic of much sensationalism. Quixote correctly states that popular fiction is heavily saturated with four horsemen/apocalypse scenarios and yes, given their immediately established power making them children does not add an extra edge, also the observation regarding how ridiculously overpowered Death and his witch companions are compared to an army is also correct. For these reasons and more I respect Quixote's criticisms of East of West.
That said, I still enjoyed it personally. Foremost, I found Hickman's writing to be decidedly non-linear; given that East of West is loosely based on real historical events and then creates its own present by changing certain elements and introducing new ones (1800s Western setting with futuristic technology) the plot and therefore the character's actions are governed by a timeline where past events are revealed slowly - flashbacks are used yes but even then they don't give the whole story away. There are several instances throughout this comic where I speculated as to the precise nature of a certain element and then realised that it had already been revealed in secret earlier on and I simply had not read far enough at the time to recognize it for what it was. I like this as I personally enjoy re-reading earlier pages with new understanding.
Now as for the art, again yes gun -slinging cowboys and sword-wielding Asians are stereotypes often found in Western fiction but nevertheless they are depicted in a tastefully stylised way. The entire comic has a limited colour pallet of oranges, blacks, whites and reds - the individual characters each have their own primarily colour that contributes to either the reader's perception of them as mystical or powerful or at the very least marks them as important to the plot. Throughout there is a distinct absence of green making the Texan/desert wasteland setting more prominent.
So overall, I enjoyed this comic, however flawed and cliched it may be, I would only recommend it however to people who like apocalyptic stories and bi-polar cultures in there reading I think people searching for a more modern or articulate read should look elsewhere.