Review – Manifest Destiny #4 (Image Comics)

manifest-destiny-04Publisher: Manifest Destiny #4
Writer: Chris Dingess
Artists: Matthew Roberts, Owen Gieni
Release Date: 12th February 2014

Chris Dingess’ ultra-creative reimagining of Lewis and Clark’s expedition to explore the Western portion of America continues here, and after the frantic events of the previous two issues, we’re allowed to catch our breath ever so slightly here and take stock of the situation.

This is an issue where Dingess allows the character development to shine, exploring the intertwining relationships between Lewis, Clark, the crew, the survivors of the fort and – perhaps most interestingly – new addition Sacagawea who makes her full appearance here after a short teaser in the previous issue.

Dingess’ dialogue is fantastic, blending drama and humour effectively and managing to give each character their own distinctive voice. And for an issue that is mainly made up of people standing around talking, it’s a testament to the skills of Matthew Roberts (art) and Owen Gieni (colours) that the book still retains its dynamic feel.

The artwork, with its slightly cartoonish appearance, works perfectly with the tone of the title, and the creativity poured into the variety of creature designs is truly commendable. The colours are rich, the expressions are easily identifiable, and the landscapes and backgrounds are a thing of beauty. This is, simply put, a gorgeous looking comic book.

Reassuringly, Dingess also doesn’t seem to be in any real hurry with the story. Details are being drip-fed slowly, and intriguing seeds are planted then left alone, presumably to be revisited later down the line. Also, the decision to take pretty much an entire issue so early in a new series to simply reflect on the events so far and dig a little deeper into the main characters is a bold move than undoubtedly pays off here.

The relative calmness doesn’t last too long however, and the final pages of this issue see things spring into motion again, and features an absolutely jaw-dropping final splash page that makes me want issue five in my hands now!

A creative, exciting and beautifully illustrated comic, Manifest Destiny is something as many people as possible owe it to themselves to discover. You can thank me later.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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