East of West #16
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Nick Dragotta
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: December 31st, 2014
The year is now 2065 and officially, the second year of the apocalypse is among us East of West readers. At the end of issue #15, the Endless nation has effectively moved in for an attack and the son of Death has been unleashed and is now roaming the Earth, leaving the horsemen of the apocalypse in the dust to search and destroy The Beast, all while short a limb and riding a hulking abomination. This new issue starts with showing you that the horsemen of the apocalypse are liking the way the world is becoming. Rivers of blood flowing through the desert and one big war between the nations thus killing millions of people in this America. The story then shifts to show you how the country has changed in light of these wars. The Endless nation sent in warships to take over the Republic of Texas, so many that Texas was overwhelmed and taken over. The ships then stacked themselves upon each other leaving towering symbols that the Endless nation is in charge.
In an effort to send a message to the other nations that the Endless nation is a ruthless and powerful nation, the Endless nation captured the leader of Texas and had hung him up for execution but it seems that the last Ranger had thwarted this action in an elaborate fashion in which his robotic dog places smoke bombs throughout the gathered people at this hanging, and has a sniper placed on the lynch that holds the leader. Within a split second the sniper shot cuts the lynch dropping the leader, a second shot penetrating the head of the executioner, and the robotic dog grapple hooking the leader and dragging him to safety after the smoke bombs had effectively gone off, and thusly saving the leader of Texas.
We are then shown how life is in the Union and how their nation is under martial law. The Endless nation even seems to not be co-operating with the Union while ambassadors are being mutilated and returned as gifts. On the other end of the spectrum, the Endless nation knows that they do not have enough resources to continue their war to the end and approach the PRA nation in hopes of gaining an ally to see their efforts in the war through to the end. The leader of the PRA knows that this whole war will end badly and while it is agreed that a mutual understanding would suffice, there is no real peaceful end in sight. What is in sight just upon the horizon is Death however making his way to meet with the mother of his child, the leader of the PRA.
Issue #16 is quite a powerful beginning to the second year of the apocalypse that is upon this world. Lots of interesting notions that the Endless nation is powerful yet not powerful enough, and Texas is still not a dead nation as it is being kept alive by a select few key players. You are left questioning why Death is needing to meet with his wife, and excited to see what will come of this reunion. The writing is spectacular as always, you can believe that this alternate history could be true no matter how science fictiony things get. The art is beautiful and really helps the story be told in a big way. Without visual representation East of West would fall apart due to complexity and disbelief but Nick Dragotta does an amazing job of using each panel to tell the story. If you’re not reading East of West, what are you doing with your comic reading life?!
~ Tyler Head
Featured with the sales of East of West #16, they also featured a 7 Nations connecting variant covers… get yours while they’re still smoking hot off the presses!