Manifest Destiny #29
Publisher: Image Comics © 2017
Writer: Chris Dingess
Penciler: Matthew Roberts
Inker: Tony Akins
Colorist: Owen Gieni
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Assistant Editor: Arielle Basich
Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Cover Art: Matthew Roberts & Owen Gieni
Manifest Destiny created by: Chris Dingess
With the term Manifest Destiny all I could picture was old American propaganda and killing of the Natives. Luckily, this comic series does not fall into that… completely. This series is the more or less the prequel to that with the expedition of Lewis & Clark. In this issue Clark is lost and it’s only Lewis and his men fighting back the fog and this smoke that has stirred everyone up into frenzy. They see the devil and all other demonic creatures now lurking. The end times are here. Meanwhile, they cannot find the girl, a girl very important to the story of Lewis & Clark, if you’ve been reading the series you know who or better yet, if you know you’re history you also know. The story is packed with suspense and sprinkled with some light humor given everyone’s responses to the monsters. After a while it grows a bit long and old into where this is all going, though the payoff makes sense. The addition of horror is what makes this comic great though. There was a time in America you would have children’s books and cartoons on stuff like this or Daniel Boone and it was a huge craze. That would never work nowadays, even personally for a history buff like me. However, throw some monsters in and you got yourself a deal. One particular dark and on-the-nose panel is a slave telling a rescued man he was “free”. Yikes!
There are certain panels like the close-up of the girl in when I get an old pulp-horror comics vibe from Roberts’ art style. The line work on his monsters is rough and gritty. With Roberts’ art and the story it is exciting to see what monster he will give us next, as one even gave me a Two-Face vibe from The Dark Knight. The man can draw actual, organic feral animals and beasts with real fur, not just fuzzy outlines. I can totally buy all of these men being from the 1800’s from their clothes and face design, with the exemption of pretty boy Lewis. At times the background has odd patch and cross-hatching to them but just a minor complaint. The vibrant fiery colors really bring our panels to life, making you really feel like it’s nighttime out with a huge bonfire lit. One last note is the letterer’s decision to use brown lettering on tan letter boxes for Lewis’ monologue, making them appear as sentences scrapped right out of his 1800’s diary, given we did not have nice, clean white lined paper back then. Everyone does their best to capture the time in this book without bringing it down to much to make it unreadable.