by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin
The latest installment in East of West was a fantastic read that was thoroughly engaging in a peculiar way. Jonathan Hickman has a way of really pulling readers into a book without having to rely on an overabundance of action or shock, though he of course utilizes these elements where needed.
East of West #9 returns to Death and the Oracle for only a relatively brief appearance. The banter between them was really quite interesting, and while this scene didn’t necessarily advance this part of the story a great deal, it was very effective regardless. A large portion of this issue was devoted to covering a new character that also proved to be an interesting addition to the book. This gun-slinging prince had a very powerful presence, with a brooding darkness that was carried well by his demeanour, actions, and dialogue. It seems like there’s always something new being added to this story, but this latest aspect seems like it will serve to push the plot forward in an unexpected way. All of the dialogue throughout these particular scenes was darkly intelligent with a great deal of depth that really pulled the reader into the story.
The artwork in issue #9 was probably some of the best in the series so far. The exchange between Death and the Oracle was very atmospheric and cinematic as the two characters are draped in shadow and falling rain throughout each panel which added a lot of weight to the scene. Nick Dragotta’s illustrations are as sharp as ever and full of excellent detail. Some of the more gruesome scenes look particularly awesome. The character designs look sleek and interesting and there are some really trippy images. Frank Martin is at the top of his game here, as the colors add a ton of depth and life to the whole book. As usual, the flashback sequences have a more solid tone that really sets these panels apart from the rest of the book. Furthermore, all of the scenes featuring the new character look astonishing with incredibly vibrant colors that really help bring this world to life.
The story in East of West has been told in a very enigmatic way while still keeping things enjoyable, and this trend continues in issue #9. However, this latest installment felt particularly engaging and the artwork was excellent. Great characters, interesting environments, bizarre story, and jaw-dropping artwork, East of West #9 has it all.