by Taylor Anderson
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!
It’s generally assumed that parents always have the best interest of their children at heart. However, as is often the case in our world there is a difference between what is assumed and what is reality. In my job as a teacher it’s sometimes my sad duty to witness parents putting their own interests before their kid’s. Such was the case of one student who was forced by his mother to be in student council when he had no interest in it whatsoever. He hated all the meetings and eventually started to skip them which led to him breaking down in tears in front of me when his mom wanted to call a meeting about the ordeal. No one was happy then and I am reminded of this when I read East of West 37, where parents put their needs and wants before the kid’s resulting in sorrow for all.
The Ranger from the Republic of Texas has arrived in the Kingdom and meets King Joseph Freeman to inform him he intends to kill his son, John, as part of his revenge tour against the Chosen. At first King Joe balks at this, since John is his chosen heir. He changes his tone though when it becomes apparent to him that John will follow his own path and not the one his father has laid out for him.
After this Joeseph is so enraged that John wouldn’t follow his orders that he effectively sets up his own child’s assassination. Later in the issue Archibald Chamberlain remunerates on the coma his niece, Constance Lee, has fallen into after being caught in the crossfire of an attempted assassination on himself. Chamberlain claims his attackers for this state of affairs but Bel Solomon points out that things would be different had Chamberlain not made her his apprentice. Basically, Sol is saying that Constance is in a coma because of Archibald, given the fact that he encouraged along the same path as he.
Whether that’s true of not is maybe up for debate. After all, it seems like Constance is a willing participant in Archibald’s political machinations. Still, in both the case of her and John Freeman, it’s apparent that when parents (or guardians) put their own interests in front of the kid’s, bad things happen to their young ones. This being the world of East of West, this means that John and Constance fall prey to the violence that is engulfing the world around them.
What’s interesting is to compare these two parent child/relationships with the relationship between Death and his son Babylon. Unlike Archibald or King Joeseph, Death appears to truly have the best interest of his son at heart. Instead of forcing him to be something he rather wouldn’t, Death allows Babylon to mostly forge his own path. Instead of making him the destroyer of the known world, as is foretold in the Prophecy, Death allows his son to be a kid and enjoy the illusory world that his aid, Balloon, supplies him. Death also has vowed to return his son to his mother, and while this is mostly Death’s idea, it’s clear that Babylon share’s his dad’s enthusiasm for meeting Mao once again. Essentially, Death loves his son and will do what’s best with him, which means letting him choose his life.
This all seems to suggest that East of West is taking a surprising stance on parenting. Jonathan Hickman suggests in this issue that it’s best when parents let their children forge their own path in life and not the one they may want for them instead. From what I’ve seen as a teacher, I can’t help but agree with this.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?