It’s all quiet of the East of West front since it finished its third story arc all the way back in September. Luckily, this week we’re getting the series’ first one shot, which is labeled The World. Is this just a money ploy or can fans rejoice that the EOW drought is over? Is it good?
East of West: The World (Image Comics)
Being one of my favorite series, East of West’s absence has deeply affected my daily mood and I’ve lost myself staring at the calendar for issue 16’s shelf date. So it came as a surprise when I saw this one-shot magically appear in the weekly comic sales, something that hadn’t been on my radar at all. So what is it? In an interview, Hickman described The World as being “sort of a part atlas, part encyclopedia, part timeline, and part apocrypha.” After reading it I have to say that Hickman is pretty accurate (besides the apocrypha part. I can’t agree to that because I don’t really understand what exactly that is and Wikipedia didn’t really help).
The issue begins with a short six page story titled The Ride. The story presumably takes place after the events of issue #15, but isn’t necessary to the storyline. The event focuses on Conquest, though also features War and Famine, and his establishment of dominance over our race, or as he refers to it, “meat.” It’s as intriguing as anything else from the series, contributes to the overarching message and theme of EOW, and reminds us how much we miss Hickman and Dragotta.
The rest of the issue contains analysis of each of the seven divisions within this world. Each of these descriptions contains a map of the area, the state’s details (capital, government, population, etc.), a ranking of the state’s strengths, and a brief description of the current state and history of the location. Afterwards there is a timeline which contains major events in each of these states’ histories which run parallel to the other states for contrast purposes. There aren’t too many events on it, but it definitely helps for clarity of the nations’ histories and adds some extra information in case you’re a huge fan of the series.
Is It Good?
While it is unnecessary and slightly gimmicky, it’s definitely a fun issue. I could see something like this, a standalone issue that just includes extra information for die-hards, being double the price of a regular issue. Instead, this fun one-shot includes a short story as well as analysis and timeline for the price of a regular issue. Normally I’m not a fan of these sorts of things, but I would definitely suggest it, especially given that it’s been months since the last issue and the complexity of the storyline may require you to refresh yourself. This issue mostly serves as an anticipation builder for The Apocalypse: Year Two, the next chapter of the series. Year Two aka issue #16 will hit shelves on December 31.