By Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta & Frank Martin
This month, East of West takes a little detour away from Death and his companions (why was Crow on the cover?!) and jumps back to the leaders of each nation as they prepare to meet at neutral territory. There’s still quite a bit that remains fairly unclear in this series, but as we always say, it wouldn’t be a true Hickman book otherwise.
East of West #11 has a very powerful opening which features Xiaolian of the House of Mao. She has become a very strong leader and just a fascinating character. Jonathan Hickman continues to cycle through a number of the major leaders in similar circumstances, as they prepare for the subsequent gathering. The scene featuring Archibald of the Confederate nation also provides a great sense of this character, as he explains that he cares for himself and nothing or nobody else. There’s also the typical strange, cryptic inclusion at this point in the issue; just who or what is Archibald confessing to? Each scene that follows one of the leaders definitely had some interesting moments, although this seems like another “setup” segment in the series where there isn’t necessarily much that happens. The ending shows the leaders finally gathering, as the final, unexpected guests arrive, which will likely pick up again next month.
The visuals by Nick Dragotta are always incredibly consistent in this series. The latest installment is no exception, with an even greater sense of subtle detail that really helps bring each image to life. Even the scenes where not much happens look great, but there are a few key moments that really shine; Bel Solomon’s nightmare was particularly wild. As always, the designs are very interesting and creative, while the illustrations all look very clean. Frank Martin’s colors in East of West keep getting better with each issue, and the latest book continues this trend. The color work throughout issue #11 was amazing in every sense and added a ton of depth to the art. Every panel is vibrant and really helps set the tone for the story, while all of the lighting effects and shading throughout this book were amazing.
Ok, so we got another issue that sort of slowed things back down and held back a bit regarding overall plot development. It’s a shame when we don’t get any scenes featuring Death, Crow, and Wolf, but there are many angles to cover in this series. The characters are all very well-written and the artwork is fantastic. It looks like things could really heat up next month!