Fabulous. I'm bemused at the number of reviews that didn't "get" the book. Not to say that EAST OF WEST is some mindbending obscure literary graphic n...moreFabulous. I'm bemused at the number of reviews that didn't "get" the book. Not to say that EAST OF WEST is some mindbending obscure literary graphic novel -- no, there's pulpy action and snarling anti-heroes and one-liners and practically moustache-swirling smug villains here, and it's a lot of fun. But the issue is that it doesn't handhold the reader, simply flinging you headfirst into the plot, action, and world without much by way of explanation; you're left to piece things together as you go, cobbling together a cryptic idea of how things work and why. There are occasional flashbacks sorting out how events have gotten to this point. It does mean that it's a slow start, though, leaving the reader lost and floundering before things click and you get a better idea of what's happening. Hickman's writing style is interesting; I'm not especially interested in the main characters (Death isn't doing it for me) but I'm really intrigued by more minor characters like all the world leaders (Chamberlain! Solomon! the prince of New Orleans!), and would love to learn more about Death's witch companions.
EAST OF WEST is a science fiction Western -- I was on the verge of calling it post-apocalyptic, except that it's more mid-apocalyptic. The gist: The Three Horsemen are trying to bring about the end of the world, despite being estranged from the fourth of their quartet, having betrayed Death some time ago -- and he is pissed about it. It's an alternate universe futuristic world, with the United States instead split into several sovereign nations; the worldbuilding is great and I can't wait to learn more about it.
I couldn't help but vaguely think of SANDMAN while reading it, considering a few base similarities: (view spoiler)[1. The main character being the embodiment of a universal concept, falling in love, and having a son; 2. Aforementioned MC getting betrayed and sort-of-killed/captured/???, and now returning to the world; 3. The possibility of his fellow anthropomorphised concepts/siblings presumably having been 'destroyed' and reborn into new bodies/appearances; 4. Also, y'know, an all-white dude with white skin and hair. (hide spoiler)]
It's a simplistic comparison, but it was on my mind.
EITHER WAY. Slow start, sort of jumbled writing that's hard to follow (the reason I docked a star), but fabulous world-building and extremely creative premise. So here for book two.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The story of the birth of the Marvel universe as seen through the eyes of ... the common people, not the heroes. Specifically, the lens of a photograp...moreThe story of the birth of the Marvel universe as seen through the eyes of ... the common people, not the heroes. Specifically, the lens of a photographer/reporter.
And holy shit. This book reads like a punch to the gut, and in a seriously good way -- it constantly had me on the verge of tears, though that might just be because something resonated oddly well with me. Awesomely tackled themes all around; not to mention, it's gotten me pondering what a Marvel-oriented, Cloverfield-esque film would look like. Superheroes from the ground up!
Ending fell a little bit flat and weird compared to the amazingness of the preceding pages, but I'm fine with that. And Alex Ross' art is, as always, mindblowing. Those reporters chasing the scene, trying to get the story, but always arriving a moment too late for the money shot or to even see what happened; it's a great, stirring depiction of realism and what living in the Marvel 'verse would really be like.(less)