Death continues his search for his son, Babylon, while The Chosen convene in a last ditch effort to establish diplomacy before the end of the world.
East of West #26 opens in a familiar way for loyal readers of the series; with writer and co-creator Jonathan Hickman setting the table for what feels like the last supper. Merely two issues into East of West’s sixth story arc, Hickman has served the appetizers and a piping hot cup of soup and left readers salivating, banging their forks on the table clamoring for the next course before the entree. Characters continue to gain more depth, plots thicken, and suspenseful cliffhangers keep the audience impatient for the next issue.
One of the most appealing components of East of West during the first story arc was the incredible artwork of, co-creator, Nick Dragotta. He would bring to life these jaw-dropping sweeping landscapes, colored by Frank Martin, which were beautifully displayed on 2-page spreads. Those are some of the most alluring artistry I have ever seen within the pages of a comic book. With unflinching consistency, Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin have managed to maintain that lofty level of craftsmanship.
This issue provides another platform for Frank Martin to impact the story through his coloring and per usual, he masters it. Gloomy, dreary, and nearly always hopeless, the dystopian world in which East of West exists is captured perfectly by Martin.He uses faded colors to seamlessly identify a few flashback panels rather than employ cheap tactics such as calling out the flashback with text. Running the gamut from realistically coloring an eye-ball and it’s respective optic nerves to vibrantly bringing a holographic globe to life, Martin continues to stake his claim as one of the best colorists in the business in this issue.
Nick Dragotta’s artwork overlooks no details. In one panel, displaying only Wolf’s eyes, Dragotta conveys disbelief, joy, and terror. The most amazing part though, isn’t that he brings character’s emotions to life. In fact, it can be argued, that conveying love and anger visually in a comic book is practically required of any half decent illustrator. It’s the way he manages to bring such a unique cast of characters together in a single panel without even the slightest hint of absurdity.
East of West’s author continues to weave an enchanting tale. With so many intertwining storylines, this story could have easily been chalked up as overly-ambitious with the wrong writer at the helm. However, Hickman continues to raise the stakes. His master plan is obviously well-thought out and leaves no stone unturned. Death’s quest for his son Babylon continues and just when you thought a gun slinging, Clint Eastwood like Death couldn’t be any more interesting, Hickman gives him a new sidekick; a detached eyeball who speaks in a manner similar to a Dr. Suess character. In typical East of West fashion though, Letterer Rus Whooton goes above and beyond, bringing chilling life to each word Death’s new accomplice speaks.
Hickman’s ending to the issue is the type of stuff most comics would save to set up the dessert, a thrilling conclusion. Instead, Hickman is just getting started with this meal and one can only imagine how juicy the entree will be when it is finally presented, let alone how savory the dessert will be when this arc concludes. With the promise of more bloodshed on the horizon, East of West continues to be one of the few series that everyone should be reading, and East of West #26 reminds us all why.
- Jonathan Hickman continues to weave a uniquely rich story that somehow continues to outdo itself every issue
- Nick Dragotta delivers another issue of top notch art
- Frank Martin’s dynamic coloring brings an additional layer to the story
- No opportunity for Dragotta and Martin to vividly bring a two-page landscape to life