Review – Manifest Destiny #8 (Image Comics)

manifestdestiny_08 - CopyPublisher: Image Comics
Writer: Chris Dingess
Artist: Matthew Roberts
Release Date: 16th July 2014

Adventure? Check. Danger? Double check. Excitement? Thrills? Chills? Check, check, check. Simply put, this interesting take on the Adventures of Lewis and Clark has it all! If you aren’t reading this book you are doing these fine creators – and yourself – a disservice. Chris Dingess and Matthew Roberts, along with the rest of their creative team, have done a fantastic job of taking a part of history and rewriting to make it fit nicely in the world of comics. If you like action and adventure without the ‘traditional’ heroes, then look no further. Oh, and one more thing, if you like a cliffhanger at the end of every single issue then you will definitely love this book. Manifest Destiny takes great pleasure in leaving you salivating at the mouth and ready for the next issue as soon as you finish reading the last page.

This latest issue sees our group of adventurers, servicemen and lowlifes still stuck in a “sticky” situation. The boat is lodged on top of another strange arch that has yet to be defined and the landing crew is busy abandoning ship and making a dash from the shore to out run the grasp of the giant frog-like creature. The two parties, the boat and the landing team, have managed to set up a means of exchanging supplies and information via rope while trying to figure a way to dislodge the ship and get their men back on the boat – without becoming a meal for the creature.

Chris Dingess’ story progression gets better and better as this series keeps rolling on. It could potentially get little monotonous from issue to issue if you look solely at the fact that they move ahead, run into trouble, then face another creature, but it damn sure doesn’t lack in action, and the introduction of a new creature for just about every issue is a testament to the creative minds behind this book. I haven’t found the story to become mundane at all, although I’m sure some folks could drop off after a few issues claiming it to be the same with each passing issue. To me though, the cliffhangers, though I am coming to expect them, come at the least expected times and really do leave you ready to read the next issue. So as far as keeping the reader interested, the cliffhangers definitely do a fantastic job.

Also, it has to be said that the story has really begun to progress in character development and humanizing the characters. You now have a few females in the group and you get to see how the men react. They have been on the trail for a while without women and now to have them introduced, you can only expect that some men will try to take advantage of them just because they are there. You get to see who are the true men and who are the lowlifes and the difference may surprise you.

Matthew Roberts delivers top-notch work every passing issue, dare I say better each and every issue. The characters are very well drawn each having their own unique expressions and mannerisms. And to be able to develop a new creature so often to me shows the imagination that this team has. It’s as if Dingess just says “okay Matt, here’s my newest creature idea… GO!” and Roberts just takes off with it and creates these creatures never seen before that still manage to retain characteristics of animals we’ve all seen in one form or another. To have a creative team that is this good at playing off of each other is a perfect recipe for a truly great comic. You have a writer that can spin a fantastic tale with all types of creatures and action and adventure and an artist that keeps up with him giving your eyes everything they could want in a single issue. I found one of the pages dealing with the “Frog” creature particularly outstanding in the way that the action flowed from panel to panel even if it was done in a fashion that I’ve never quite seen used before. I hope these two artisans keep making comics together for the long haul, as they make a truly fantastic creative team.

Rating: 5/5.

The writer of this piece was: Shane Hoffman (aka “Hoff”)
You can also follow Hoff on Twitter.

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