East of West #12: Revenge is for the righteous

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One of the skills of maintaining a long running comic series is mixing it up, changing tone, changing pace and focus.

Nick Dragotta does this beautifully in East of West #12.

If you need a re-cap of where we are so far with the story take a look at my East of West issue by issue summary #01-11.

I know one thing, reading this right through in a collected issue is going to be a treat.

But for now trying to keep a handle on a plot with so many arcs, twists, turns and reveals is tough.

However, it is so worth the effort.

If you thought a whole comic where the entire cast sit around a table and have a debate would be boring you’d be dead wrong.

You could cut the tension between the characters in this issue with a knife.

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“Man is a most complex simple creature

See what he weaves, and how base his reasons for doing so.”

Oh, how true that is.

Each of the Chosen has their own agenda: revenge, greed, avarice…

All so base and simple; or are they?

Xiaolian is out to start a war.

To take revenge.

To hurt those who hurt her and took her child.

But what is her real agenda?

She’s too cool and calculating to just want to destroy the world in a fit of blind rage.

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As Dragotta reminds us all the way through this issue, there is deception here.

This issue opens up a raft of new potential sub plots.

What is Doma Lux’s motivation for making sure war breaks out?

And who will be the next Chosen One to take advantage of a deadly diversion?

An issue like this can seem like a pause in the momentum of the story.

But it also adds to the expectation.

As a reader I want the story to veer back across the paths of the characters I miss.

Where are Wolf and Crow?

Where is Death?

Where is Death’s child?

From the form of this comic so far I am sure I won’t be disappointed when Dragotta decides to bring them back into the spotlight.

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Saga #19: In which Brian K. Vaughan makes us go “uurgh”!

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Chapter 19 of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples sci-fi series gives us something never seen before; a close up view of a baby with a TV for a head being born.

And this is part of what makes this comic so endearing.

In turns Vaughan makes us ooh, ahh and go uurgh.

I won’t spoil the effect by posting that image here.

We jump forward slightly in time in this chapter.

Our star crossed lovers are still on the run, living in hiding on the planet Gardenia.

Times are tough for a couple in hiding.

Being the primary care-giver can be a thankless task.

And wearing a huge wig and acting in a really tacky soap opera also has its problems.

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At its heart this story has always been about the relationship dynamics of the main characters.

Writers who want a really loyal following ignore that at their peril.

Brian K. Vaughan nails it.

I really care about Marko and Alana.

Their squabbles, their sense of humour and their need for each other just rings true.

Despite the floating ghost babysitter and the spaceships.

All of which are cool.

But importantly they don’t detract from how believable  the story seems.

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After a three month hiatus this chapter feels like the beginning of a new story ark for Saga.

And I can’t wait to see where they take it.