Out of the frying pan and into the fire. I think that pretty much sums up just about every issue of Manifest Destiny thus far. Just when you start to think our explorers Lewis and Clark might be safe, we get yet another cliffhanger on the last page. And the beginning to this new story arc doesn’t deviate from that pattern one bit.
Having come out of their encounter with the Minotaur tribe and the contagious flesh altering flora infection, Lewis and Clark seem to have resumed their presidential mission to explore, chart and expand the American Territories. It seems almost like an air of ‘business as usual’ has resumed on the boat. Having the addition of the survivors from La Charrette filling roles that were missing from the original crew, it seems that the mission has found it’s calm before the storm. The crew is on the boat while Sacagawea continues on land, warning the crew that you can’t run on the river. Progress is being made collecting specimens and information for both Lewis’ journals when the boat gets stuck on an unidentified object. Clark goes ashore with a team and sends another to the opposite bank to try and pull the boat free while Lewis does some diving only to discover the disturbing truth behind what they have hit…
For a writer to take actual history and put his own twist on it, and manage to give it a life of it’s own is something all readers should take notice of. Chris Dingess has taken his imagination and added it to history in a unique and exciting way. And hey, not every single detail of Lewis and Clark’s journey is known so who’s to say whether some of this didn’t actually happen. The story drew me in from the first issue and though I’m not the biggest fan of the cliffhangers at the end of every issue, or even singles for that matter, I quickly became accustomed to them in this series and found myself both expecting and loving it when they happened. The dialogue is intelligent and on-point with what I think would be going through my head having seen some of what these characters face, which gives a certain realism to the book. There are a number of characters, some major, some minor, but all have their own roles and the information and the background for each is still there, making the ‘lesser’ ones seem just as important as the main characters. It’s well written at the pace you would expect with a nice balance between moments of high tension and action and the down times in-between which give us a breather to process what we’ve found and experienced.
Also, it has to be said, Matthew Roberts’ artwork is phenomenal! And that’s still probably not giving him enough credit. Not only are the environments believable, being that they are a representation of our country in its infancy, but the characters are highly detailed as well. The level of detail that is in every panel is astounding and very well done. To know that Roberts handles the inking duties as well just adds to the creative talent behind this artist. I hope that he is on the book for the long haul and look forward to seeing where his career will take him.
The writer of this piece was: Shane Hoffman (aka “Hoff”)
You can also find Hoff on Twitter.