Comic Vine Review


East of West #6 - Six: To Do Justly, and to Love Mercy Review


In which we learn a little bit about justice and mercy, and those who dispense them.

The Good

Taking a break from Death's drama this month, the story shifts focus to The Chosen, and those among their ranks who might stir up a bit of trouble. Trouble, of course, being a relative term, because this whole situation is rife with tension.

Hickman's grand world-building shines in this issue, as we see glimpses of the corrupt nature of the future, along with a spectacular meta-story about judges and politicians. It's great to see the world as it exists for others besides the Horsemen or Xiao, not just because it's a palate cleanser, but because the central story gains context through the narrative surrounding it.

Though we don't see many of the familiar cast members from previous issues (with the exception of The Chosen), Xiao's "gift" of her sister's hands brings us right back into the heart of the conflict -- Xiao/Death vs. Everyone Else, namely that scheming conclave of leaders. Trouble in the ranks of The Chosen is predictable for a group of politicians, yet no less dramatically impactful -- the "snake who catches the rat" concept is an absurdly brilliant way to blur the lines regarding whose side we're supposed to be on. Everyone's a bad guy, but some might have room for redemption.

Justice and mercy are, of course, pivotal to this story, and Bel's introduction to the Rangers is an explosive dissection of those concepts. I'm getting a bit of a V (as in Vendetta) vibe from the Ranger (with some hints of Dredd), and that makes the story-to-come even more exciting. I'm delighted by his coming-out-of-retirement story, partly because his reasons for retirement were so honorable and self-aware -- and because I know he's going to inflict some serious damage now that he's put the hat back on.

The Bad

I'm now more confused than ever about how The Message works -- I think I was under the assumption that it was a single story or text, but now I'm not sure. I secretly hope that we'll get to see the contents of The Message before the series concludes, but it could also be an incredibly smart MacGuffin.

The Verdict

I initially flipped through this issue, didn't see Death or Xiao wreaking world-ending havoc, and wondered if it would be lackluster. Spoiler alert: it wasn't. Though the focus is shifted, it's a strong issue that builds towards the central narrative, and we get to see some world-building on a historical and emotional level. EAST OF WEST is a must-pull, and the recently-released trade paperback of Issues #1-5 makes catching up on this series a breeze.

Posted by Cavemold

I think the message is some sort of hoax . Chamberlin and 4 horsemen are using to destroy the rest of the nations. Obivously the US is in this as well..

Posted by hufnagel0

@cavemold: They were pretty easily convinced that Bel was the traitor... something don't sit right with me. It's either poorly written (from Hickman? I don't think so) or they have some reason for needing a fall guy. Great intro for the ranger though. I love peeling the layers back on this story, super fun read.

Posted by MissJ

@hufnagel0: Politicians love a fall guy; it makes things "not their fault." Bel got shafted in that regard, but I think we're going to see some big-time retribution soon.

Edited by Mezmero

That looks like Shirohige on the cover. Still need to read the previous issue.

Edited by _Marc_74

im new to comics at 38 and have about 6 in my pull

but this is the one that wakes me up and holds my passion

i love it!!

Posted by Jake Fury

I feel like I could read this series over and over again 100 times and still not get it completely. In this rare case though, that is definitely a good thing.

Loved the Ranger's debut, I want some more insight on the rest of the council though.

Posted by Buddy_Baker

I just read the first trade and damn I immediately made sure that my comic shop will put this on my pull list. Somehow Hickman manages to just slowly build up the story and still entertain me. Dragotta and Martin are doing a great job, too. A buddy of mine mentioned that he is thinking of Akira while reading this and I must admit that it really has a bit of the same vibe going on. In case you don't know: that's a good thing.