Oliver Davis reviews East of West #6…
“The work of the Chosen is revealed as the RANGER is recruited to hunt down and kill Death.“
After an issue focusing on the relationship between Death and Xiaolian (which contained one rather sizeable plot point reveal), East of West #6 instead details the plight of The Chosen – a bunch of world leadery folks in charge of bringing about The Message’s Prophecy.
There are a lot of capitalised, definite article-based things in East of West. The Message. The Chosen. The Four Horsemen. Those two little additions to a word can make them sound infinitely more important. Perhaps that’s why The Lettering is in lower-case. The industry standard, of course, is CAPITAL LETTERS, which wouldn’t allow for such definition.
The Chosen realise there’s a traitor amongst them, and then blame The Wrong Guy. This all happens in the issue’s lengthy first scene, which is a tad overwritten. Not only is there a lot of dialogue between characters in East of West, what they say isn’t exactly concise either. For a comic that is essentially
a Western The Western, such wordiness clashes with a typically stoic genre.
The sequence does, however, contain one of the series’ best lines thus far. After Bel contemplates going for his gun, the fastest of The Chosen’s drawers simply remarks, “JUST THINKING ABOUT IT MAKES YOU TOO SLOW.” What follows is the issue’s most enjoyable segment, a very well-drawn and paced four-page escape. It’s no coincidence that these are four of the least dialogue-cluttered in the entire book.
The rest of the issue introduces a new character, another definite-article name, The Ranger. Nick Dragotta’s art in these flashback sequences is stunning. To indicate the past, the panel edges are again frayed and the colour slightly saturated. But the pencils seem to take on an entirely different style. Expressions are more detailed, shots more stylised. The book suddenly becomes a Manga. It’s almost a shame when the comic returns to its usual style.
Bel wants The Ranger to help kill Death. He’s a Texas lawman coming out of retirement to return an old man’s favour. Cliché? Sure. But still a bloody good romp.