This particular series was a gift from my husband for Christmas, a complete surprise. To be honest, I am not sure I would have picked this one up on my own, but I am game for pretty much anything Image Comics is selling.
This is a mash up of genres – science fiction, western, dystopian fiction (I am pretty sure dystopian fiction is a genre by now, right?). The lead characters are the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, regenerating every once in a while in new forms, and in this story are riders in a very strange version of the United States. Death has separated from War, Famine and Conquest, and is pursuing a different quest than the others. They resent him, and he seems to barely even think of them, but they are obviously on a disastrous collision course. This overarching storyline shadows the other thread, where the Seven Nations of the USA are conspiring to bring about the apocalypse with the cooperation of the three Horseman still working together.
This particular series is dark, as one might expect, but I found this series a bit impenetrable, at first. With other series I am reading (Rat Queens, Chew, Saga, etc), they ease the reader in a bit, world building in a more traditional way. With East of West, the story seems to start in the middle, with a minimum of exposition to explain where and what is going on. However, by the third issue, I was immersed and eager to see where the story is going. The conspiracy story is pretty conventional, but the back story of the Horsemen and how that is feeding into the conspiracy thread is so surprising and complex. The art is really interesting, and Dragotta uses a fairly limited colour palette to great effect and gives a good sense of space throughout. It’s a really interesting series, and I am eager to see where they take it.