MANIFEST DESTINY #10
STORY: CHRIS DINGESS
ART / COVER: MATTHEW ROBERTS & OWEN GIENI
SEPTEMBER 17 / 32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $2.99
“Nothing cuts through the quiet of night like screams of panic and pain.”
Stranded on the river, Lewis & Clark’s crew discover their place in America’s food chain…where man is no longer its greatest predator…
I admit it! I was late to the party when it come to this comic book. I picked up the first trade the week it came out because of a single reference and a rare moment of having some extra spending cash, but I’m so very glad that I picked up Manifest Destiny, and I haven’t missed a single issue since. The excitement and adventure in every issue has been over the top in an odd combination of supernatural science-fiction and American history, and ish #10 of this surprise hit was absolutely no different. However, there were character moments in this issue that made it stand out from the first 9 books in this run, and it was definitely a good thing.
Issue #10 of Manifest Destiny was the same fun-filled, adventure-soaked, alternate-history monster story of Lewis & Clark’s true reasons for their western explorations that readers have come to expect from this title, but there were some great additions with this ish that really show how comfortable the creators are getting with the book. The writing took some risky moves when compared to previous issues, with the dialogue between Lewis and Mrs. Boniface, their ensuing work in the laboratory, and some vermin repelling replacing some of the supernatural action with character building. The move gave some needed insight to readers, didn’t hinder the usually great story-telling much at all, but the best aspect was the way the writing opened up the art. There are some (there’s no other word for it) really poetic panel choices in this ish, as well as some amazing full-page spreads and emotional inset panels, all of which were a surprise on top of the already surprising quality of this title overall. The art is usually top-notch in this book, but the artist seems to be in a great groove right now. Writing and art has really hit its stride with this issue, and I cannot wait for more.
With a shift of focus on characters something had to suffer for the move, and, in this case, there were some really compelling aspects to the story from the last issue that were missing. The team of adventurers are dealing with 3 distinct problems right now – bugs in the woods; frogs in the river; and a stuck boat – and the only thing that was even remotely addressed were the bugs, with the other two problems being completely ignored for the most part. Sure, there was a mention of the frogs, and a strong hint that the team will be addressing the amphibians in the next issue, but those damn bugs just need to go away! I hate those damned things, and Matthew Roberts draws one horrifying giant mosquito. You know, maybe this isn’t a bad thing; maybe I’m just terrified of large insects, and I thought I was reading an adventure book with monsters, not a monster book with adventure.
Despite being way too scared than I should have while reading this book, I’m not sure I can really call that a ‘Bad Thing’, and it would be unfair for me to lower my score just because I don’t like big bugs. Manifest Destiny has been a wonderful comic book, and you can tell the creators have some confidence and are willing to push some boundaries as the title continues. This means things are not only getting better in this book, but it’s going to keep getting better. This ish may have been a departure from the series thus far; the creators took a bit, and gave a bit; but different, in this case, was definitely good.
Story: 4 Out of 5
Art: 5 Out of 5
Overall: 4.5 Out of 5