Huge spoilers in this review, primarily in the second paragraph.
East of West #10 is a big issue for the series. Not big in terms of size, but just big as in it’s the supposed 1/5th mark of the story and big as in big things happen here. Somebody gets shot, somebody loses an eye, and too many people are not what they seem. East of West #10 is a climax to a western movie, but it’s weird because it’s only part of the way through a series. Hickman and Dragotta are really ramping up the tension here.
Death has been taking a real beat-down in East of West. His son gets taken from him, he’s in a state of post-death (as you can tell by his transition from fully black skin to fully white skin equipped with white outfit), and his wife/lover kind of/sort of resents him. He’s on a mission to get all of that back though, and here the raw anger and intense ferocity of Death’s mission comes full force. Death is an angry, vengeful man, but that doesn’t stop him from striking deals, although Death comes eventually for every man and woman. Here, he almost strikes a deal with one of The Chosen, the Native shaman Cheveyo, before SPOILER ALERT: Cheveyo gets shot. We also learn the Wolf, who has been traveling with Death, is Cheveyo’s son. And finally, we also learn that The Beast of the apocalypse, Death’s son is not all he seems. END SPOILERS.
I basically just summarized all of the key moments in the issue, and with good purpose. Hickman seems like he’s been treading water for the past 5 issues, giving us neat little character-based stories centered on the Chosen, and finally, Death’s current arc comes full circle. If you were about to drop the series, don’t. Things are only getting bigger from here out, and Hickman plus Dragotta are executing it with top-notch pacing and timing.
Dragotta’s artwork is some of the best comics has seen in a while. It’s got a childlike sense of whimsy with flourishes of anime/manga and Moebius. He brings a desert landscape to life with such clarity and liveliness even when it’s filled to the brim with bones. The fight between Death and pals versus Cheveyo is amazing too, captured in all of its bloody, gory details. Dragotta really brought his a-game to the table here, and hopefully the outstanding results can be kept up.
I’m genuinely excited to see where Hickman goes next, if only to see how much bigger it can get. This is an indie book where I am invested in the characters and am in it for the long run, and you should be too. Give East of West #10 a try, or you’ll be sorry.
My Score: 5/5