“We had won the battle. But not without cost.”
– Captain Meriwether Lewis
Manifest Destiny #6 wraps up the wonderfully creative first arc of the alternative reality tale of Lewis & Clark’s journey through the American West of the early 1800’s. The story is filled with supernatural beasts and even zombie-like vine people to suggest that our heroes, Lewis & Clark, came across more than just raging rivers and mountainous terrain in their quest to map out the uncharted west. Chris Dingess’s story comes to life seamlessly when combined with the beautiful art and color by Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni, respectively. The infested animals and ‘floral’ people appear to jump out of the page with how realistic it all is. It was difficult to continuously read the remarkable story when I all I could was stare at each character and marvel at how well drawn every page is. Manifest Destiny is really a work of art and, combined with a unique take on an important historical event, needs to at or near the top of everyone’s comic book pile.
Manifest Destiny #6 continues immediately after the events of Issue #5 with Lewis, Clark and York running from the ‘floral’ infested bear. I love how the book can be serious most of the time and with one perfectly placed panel, make me laugh. It was funny to see York knocked aside by the bear in the midst of them trying to fight it off. Lewis and Clark manage to set the animal ablaze and the bear quickly runs off. Our heroes think the best course of action is to follow it, not realizing how far they have strayed from the rest of their group. While they chase the animal their crew mates are busy batting other ‘floral’ infected beings with a few losses and some members becoming infected themselves.
Lewis and Clark are standing over their kill when all of a sudden an infected carnivorous flower (I am not sure what to call it, but it looks like a large flowering vine) emerges from the forest floor and attacks them, placing Lewis and Clark inside its floral maw. The neat part about all this is the fact that the flowering vine is sentient. It speaks to Captain Lewis and says in its land it is considered a lord or godlike. Immediately after their conversation, Lewis and Clark succumb to its hallucinatory drug effects released by its tongue (does this sound at all strange yet? Trust me, it’s a great comic book). With our fearless leaders incapacitated and helpless Sacagawea leaps to the rescue and saves them from being swallowed up and forgotten forever. The panel sequences of Sacagawea fighting off the evil plant are some of the best drawn in the entire series. It was interspersed with the dream images of Lewis and Clark and made for some really great art.
The issue ends with the crew cleansing to rid themselves of the infestation. The final page was drawn superbly with symbolic meaning. The river they travel down is getting redder as they progress. This, of course, hints at the treacherous journey that lay before our heroic team. One of my favorite parts of Manifest Destiny is the spin they put on Sacagawea. They make her out to be this being with super strength and keen hunting skills. She is a great character and they did a wonderful job of building her up.
Alternative reality stories are some of my favorite kinds of comic books to read and get lost in. It’s so interesting to experience a different take on a story you are already familiar with and enjoy that I often find myself day-dreaming about “what if” scenarios all the time. Isn’t that the beauty of most of the tales we immerse ourselves in any way; a series of “what-if” events that lead to something unique and fascinating? Even if you do not know the story of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark’s perilous journey in the early 1800’s to explore and map the newly acquired Louisiana Territory, Manifest Destiny is a comic book worth delving into. You do not need a degree in American history to know that Lewis & Clark did not come across strange vine monsters or rabid floral-infected animals on their trek, but the alternative reality that Chris Dingess conjures up suggests that they came into contact with that and a whole lot more.
Thoughts and Discussion
– What happened to the Minotaurs? Will we see them again?
– Are the “floral” people and animals all gone? Did any of them survive the final burning of the forest area?
– What did Lewis mean when he said Sacagawea doesn’t know why she is really there? What is her real purpose?
Thank You for checking out my Review! Please comment below so we can discuss this book and issue further!
Story: Chris Dingess – Art/Cover: Matthew Roberts – Colors/Cover: Owen Gieni – Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy