Alright, so Secret Wars has had me pretty tied up lately, but I wanted to get the review for East of West, Volume 3 out before volume 4 gets released this coming Wednesday, so here it is.  Does this book hold up to the high standards set by the first two volumes?  You’re gonna have to read on to find out!

East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us continues to tell the story of the end of days in the dystopian future of America.  As can be expected among a group of characters plotting to bring about the end of the world, there are some unsavory characters here, and again, as to be expected, they don’t all trust one another.  Betrayals and murders abound in this volume and we quickly learn that everyone involved has an ulterior motive, even the characters that one would least suspect.  The backstabbings take their toll however, as the world seems to be headed toward the brink of war.

Writer Jonathan Hickman continues to weave an impressive and epic narrative in this volume.  The story in this series just keeps getting bigger and more interesting with each issue.  Between this and his work on Marvel’s Secret Wars, it’s becoming quite apparent that he has a talent for writing massive stories with a large cast of characters.  I can’t even begin to imagine how he keeps everything straight in his mind.  However, an unfortunate downside to having such a large cast with nearly every character playing at least two sides is that the story can sometimes be confusing.  A few times in this volume, after a major event or betrayal, I found myself having to back track a few pages to try and figure out what was going on.  It wasn’t terrible, but it was a little distracting from time to time.  Aside from that minor flaw, the story kept me glued to my seat until I finished the entire volume, and I must say, the last panel surprise reveal is really something amazing and lets you know that absolutely no one in this story is to be trusted.

As with the previous two volumes, Nick Dragotta’s artwork is fitting for the story that Hickman tells.  A danger one runs in illustrating this kind of story is making the characters look too “normal” or mundane.  Fortunately Dragotta doesn’t have that problem.  His characters and layouts clearly separate the world of the story from the one we live in.  In most cases, looking at any panel on any page, you would be able to tell this is an odd, futuristic story, and it really helps to engross the reader in the world.  I wasn’t crazy about the art when I first started reading the series, but over the course of three volumes, it’s really grown on me to something that I look forward to in each new volume.

Truth be told, this volume is not my favorite of the three that are currently out, but in my opinion it’s still part of one of the best comic series on the shelves right now.  The writing is absolutely enthralling, even with the occasional confusion as to who is working for/with who, and the art works with it brilliantly to tell a marvelous story that seems to be building toward an incredibly large scale event.  I’m eagerly awaiting volume 4.

The Verdict for East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us TPB:
I can dig it.

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
Ultimate End #2 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Ghost Racers #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Weirdworld #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Secret Wars: Journal #2
Wytches #1-#6
East of West, Volume 4: Who Wants War TPB
March of the Crabs, Volume 1: The Crabby Condition


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