East of West #13
By Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta & Frank Martin
We’re back, baby! Death and his companions have finally made a return to the pages of East of West in issue #13. Although they have been sorely missed in recent issues which focused more on the political conflict between the leaders of each nation, this month delivered one of the most action-packed issues in the entire series.
Jonathan Hickman has kept a few aspects of this story quite cryptic and mysterious throughout the series, but this latest installment was actually quite clear in its overall delivery. Furthermore, this particular issue seemed to add to and develop the plot a lot more quickly than usual for East of West. In all sincerity, this was one of the absolute best issues of the series so far, at least since the first few installments. The two major dimensions of this latest book include the terrifically entertaining conflict between Death and the Ranger, as well as Crow and Wolf dealing with the shockingly supernatural aftermath of Cheveyo’s murder from the last issue. The Death/Ranger battle had a particularly exciting resolution which could lead to an interesting and unexpected team-up in future installments.
Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin continue to do only great things with this series with some jaw-dropping visuals that also really enhanced the overall storytelling a lot more than usual. One of the coolest dynamic image sequences in the whole series so far was the pullback from Cheveyo’s brutally mortal wound to the location from which the shot originated over the course of three pages. This really helped emphasize just how impressive the assassin’s aim and skill are and made this sequence that much more dramatic. The actual fight scenes were fantastically illustrated and dynamic, and along with the great paneling, this made the whole book flow very well. The overall visual sensibility in East of West #13 was quite epic, and the visuals during the more supernatural events were especially vivid and exciting.
As a whole, this issue demonstrates some of the best traits of the creative team. Every aspect of this book has kicked up the pace of the overall story and really helped to rejuvenate reader excitement for the future of this series. This issue also opened up some excellent potential new directions for the characters, and fans should be particularly pleased with how this played out.