Sunday, February 15, 2015

Comic Review: Manifest Destiny Volume 1

    It’s 1804, and Lewis & Clark have been sent out into the wilderness to explore the Western lands so that future settlers can know what to expect.  Well, that’s the official story.  In truth, President Jefferson knows that the West is full of strange and dangerous tribes, and worse, monsters.  And in order for settlers to be safe, Lewis & Clark are going to have to tame the wild and weird.

    Chris Dingess quickly twists expectations, as the expedition finds a huge arch, not unlike one we’re all familiar with, but this arch is made of branch and leaf, instead of shining metal.  And it gets much worse when they kill a native, who is a strange thing indeed.  A tribe of buffalo headed centaurs?  OK.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, when they reach La Charette to meet up with a guide, they stumble across a terrible plague.  Internal strife and external threat puts everyone on edge.  And the realization that this mission isn’t what everyone signed up for may be too much for some.  That’s when Sacagawea shows up, and boy howdy, I’m curious to see what comes of that.  I’ve enjoyed several ‘Weird Western’ stories and settings, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like this.  I like the cast of characters and the mysteries and horrors they’ve found.  I’m very interested in where the story is heading and what it’s all going to be about.

    The art in the book is good, occasionally excellent.  The panel work is good, not causing confusion or getting in the way, while remaining dynamic.  And the coloring lends a vividness that is refreshing.  I would almost expect a horror themed story like this to be more drab, or darker.  I like that it’s quite colorful, with much of the horror taking place in the bright light of day.

    This is another example of Image Comics publishing the kinds of things I’m more interested in reading.  For people who want to try comics, but aren’t interested in super heroes, and don’t want to have to wade through decades of back story, Image is where it’s at.  From sci-fi, to horror, to spy thrillers, they’re producing a fantastic variety of graphic fiction.

Manifest Destiny: Flora & Fauna
Author: Chris Dingess
Artist: Matthew Roberts
Publisher: Image Comics
ISBN: 978-1-60706-982-9

-Matthew J. Constantine

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