Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Chris Dingess
Artist(s): Matthew Roberts, Stefano Gaudiano, Tony Akins, Owen Gieni, Pat Brosseau
Release Date: 3rd February, 2016
Manifest Destiny is one of those series that came out of nowhere and stole my heart. It made ‘Best of 2015’ list for BCP last year, yet the more I think about it, I don’t recall many sagas that I’ve enjoyed more in my entire comic book reading life. As a lifelong fan of adventure stories and monsters, it’s obviously going to appeal to my tastes, yet the way it’s re-imagined history to add the supernatural to a well-known event is nothing short of genius. Not only does it provide the perfect escapist entertainment that a comic book should, it’s also a gateway to learning about American history, which wasn’t really taught in schools this side of the pond.
During our adventure so far we’ve encountered everything from minotaur buffalo men, to plant zombies and a host of other unique and interesting creatures not portrayed in other series. To use a dirty term: this is a monster enthusiasts wet dream. The beasts are often closely associated with, and inspired by, the nature and culture of the old Frontier, which really gives you a feeling of being there in the moment with the characters as they embark on their journey into the dangerous unknown. In this arc, our journeymen encounter new hurdles – and monsters – to overcome, which is made all the more inconvenient when issues arise with Sacagawea’s pregnancy. How will they overcome this predicament?
Chris Dingess is a natural storyteller. Whether it’s his work on television with shows such as Agent Carter, the gone but never forgotten Reaper, or here on Manifest Destiny, he’s got a knack for excellent writing no matter which medium he’s operating in. For me, he’s one of the most underrated talents working today and anything with his name is attached to it is worth checking out.
However, just as impressive is the artwork, which is absolutely breathtaking. The panels capture the vastness and wild of the Frontier perfectly, and reading it, you really do feel like you’re a part of the adventure. For this omnibus, Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni split the duties with Stefano Gaudiano, Tony Akins and Pat Brosseau – it’s not like they needed new blood to improve it, but the additions certainly don’t alter the stunning quality by any means.
It might be too early to start calling Manifest Destiny one of the best series of all time, but it’s certainly headed that way, if it maintains this level of quality. Now with a third volume under its belt, the Lewis and Clark Expedition – like you’ve never seen it told before – it has only went from strength to strength, and remains the best ongoing series at the moment in this reviewer’s humble opinion. To give out such high praise to a series in it’s relative infancy is no exaggeration either. It came out firing on all cylinders from the get go, and has only continued to pick up steam ever since. This is all of the fun and adventure you could ask for in any medium of storytelling, and it’s well on its way to becoming a timeless classic.
The writer of this piece was: Kieran Fisher
Kieran Tweets from @HairEverywhere_.