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East of West Volume 1: The Promise Paperback – September 24, 2013
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Fresh off the opening salvo of his multiuniverse, alternate-history, mad-science-bomb Manhattan Projects (2012), Hickman starts another high-concept series, this one set in a futuristic Old West and starring none other than the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. But there’s trouble in the ranks, it seems, between Death and his cohort. What exactly that trouble is, and a swarming host of other tantalizing questions—like what happened between the Civil War and 2066, for instance—are teased out as Death tracks down those who have wronged him, in the grand tradition of western revenge yarns. The sprawling storytelling will likely pay off in the long run, but the narrative moves in so many directions right off the bat that one’s attention gets easily quartered. Happily, Dragotta’s bloody, gangly art is a great fit—from the eerie white figure of Death and the impish manifestations of Conquest, War, and Famine to the dustpunk marriage of frontier imagery and futuristic technology. Though it’s still in its early throes, this looks to be a seriously entertaining, darkly epic apocalypse in the making. --Ian Chipman