Manifest Destiny #14
Any time Chris Dingess and Matthew Roberts’ Manifest Destiny hits the comic shelves it’s a good week. Their continuing tale of the real adventures of Lewis and Clark’s exploration into the Western Territories is a tremendous adventure comic filled with awesomely original creatures. And with the latest issue, Lewis and Clark may have stumbled upon one of the worst creatures they’ve ever encountered.
Picking up right where the last issue left off, Lewis and his small band of explorers subdue the mysterious bird/bear hybrid creature that attacked them. At the same time, Clark has remained on their ship to ensure that Sacagawea gets the care she needs after falling ill. Lewis returns to the ship with the creature with plans to study it. But after the bite from the creature on a crewman turns poisonous, Lewis decides that he’ll have to remain with the creature at all times to ensure no one decides to put the creature down. While he sleeps, Sheets, their most loyal crewmember, is attacked and carried away from one of the older members of the creatures’ species, leaving the spooked crew trying to figure out where Sheets went the next morning, which leads to the start of a mutiny against Lewis and Clark.
Chris Dingess’ plot for this series is absolutely stellar, and I love the way that he slowly reveals things about creatures the Lewis and Clark encounter on their journey. Instead of giving us copious amounts of back-story, Dingess keeps the focus on Lewis and Clark, so we learn about the monsters they’re facing from their perspective. We know just as much as they do, which adds a great sense of mystery and excitement to the series.
The art by Matthew Roberts also does a fantastic job of keeping you guessing, especially when it comes o the different monsters that the group encounters. No monster looks exactly the same, and they also look nothing like anything you’ve seen before. This current one has a weird “My Pet Monster” looks to its face, but it also has a giant beak with teeth. And when we see one of the older members of the species, well, let’s just say that the reveal is pulled off spectacularly by Roberts, and proves that the worst is yet to come for Lewis and Clark.
If you aren’t reading Manifest Destiny, you should really give it a shot. This issue serves as a pretty good jumping on point for new readers, but if you really want to get the whole story the first two trade paperbacks have been out for a while. Manifest Destiny is one of the coolest series on the stands, and has surprised me every single month.