Review – Manifest Destiny #9 (Image Comics)

ManifestDestiny09_Cover - CopyPublisher: Image Comics
Writer: Chris Dingess
Artist: Matthew Roberts
Release Date: 20th August 2014

I’ve said it before and it really must be said again, the visual story telling in this series is absolutely outstanding! Matthew Roberts’ ability to have a cast of so many characters and still give each it’s own personality and visual presence is a true testament to his craftsmanship. Not only is the breadth of characters large but the creatures he designs – which in most cases is a new one every issue – are incredible, and they are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Roberts’ has taken Chris Dingess’ story and brought it to life flawlessly. I don’t believe a better pair of creators could have been placed together on this series. If you’re not reading this book or even just buying it to flip through the pages for the art alone then you are doing yourself a disservice and missing out on witnessing the kind of magic that can happen when two great creators get together.

In this latest issue we find our crew still in the same predicament as before; half of the crew is stranded on land and the other half still stuck on the boat. Lewis is on the boat, trying to find a way to remove the threat of the Ranidea, the large frog-like creature lurking below the water, and Clark is on land struggling to keep his men in line. Lewis appears to have come up with a plan to remove the threat, and bolster his credit with the crew, yet his attempts continue to fail. Meanwhile on land the crew are still managing to collect and send over samples of the wildlife to Lewis on the boat. We begin to see some more character development in Sacajawea and York as he attempts to keep watch over her.

I think I gushed enough over Matthew Roberts earlier so allow me to elaborate a little on my affinity for Chris Dingess’ work on this series. I find this story to be simply a fun thrill ride; there’s action and adventure, discovery and a certain amount of horror and gore on some levels that make this a pretty all-around great read. You would think that after nine issues of a cliffhanger or big reveal at the end of every issue the effect would be diminished, but it has now become the part I look forward to most. In a way it is a great tactic to keep a reader coming back, but at the same time it makes it feels as though you are reading chapters in a novel because how often do those end on a high note to keep you turning pages?!

With the wide range of characters you would think it would be difficult to build each one their own personalities and roles but I find that each one gets more and more deveiled the more this series goes on. Yes, you have your non-essential characters, but there are enough in the main cast that it amazes me how well each one’s own story is progressing. You get to see the different views of each one as events take place, and experience their reasons for continuing (or questioning whether they should). Dingess has truly created something special with this twisted ‘New World’ story, and I’m definitely going to continue reading the adventures of this particular Lewis and Clark.

Rating: 5/5

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

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