Manifest Destiny #4 (Image)


Rating: 4/5 – Slow Chapter In an Otherwise Great Series.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Will Hessling.

To gush a bit, I love this series. I love the premise. Love the writing, love the art. It’s been a real standout (and sellout, in a good way) for Image, and that’s no small praise at a time where Image is just knocking it out of the park with a stable of wonderful, original books. It’s one of the books I look forward to , and always one of the first in my “to read” pile. This issue doesn’t do much to advance the story plotwise, but it’s still a beautiful, well written book.

To get you up to speed, Lewis and Clark are on their historic journey, but it isn’t quite the one we’re familiar with. The wilds of America are more fantastic and dangerous than our textbooks implied; a vast expanse filled with mystery and fantasy, and if a writer tells this tale and adds a bit of fiction for spice, what of it?

I love this type of story (one that mixes fantasy with history), so you should understand I was sold on the premise from the word go. Four issues deep, we wind up slowing down a bit. As a single issue  #4 winded up being a bit stagnant for me, but to be fair that’s out of necessity. At first I found the pacing of this particular issue disappointing, but after some reflection I don’t know that I’d have it any other way. True, we don’t see much besides what we’re expecting, but this is not the time for surprises or hooks. I much prefer a strong, well-executed story with an idea of where it’s going, and that’s what this feels like. If anything, I think the last-panel teases we’ve been treated with in this series are so strong that they are hard to live up to in the next issue, as evidenced by the introduction of  Sacajawea and Toussiant Charbonneau. We don’t get much besides some knowing looks on Sacajawea’s part and some fun bluster and brag from Charbonneau in this issue, but I suppose that’s as it should be. And again in this issue the last panel is amazing, something I saw coming but still great.

I’m excited to see where this story will go, the series is in the upper echelon of current series I am reading when it comes to the synergy of story, art, dialog, lettering, all of the things that make me love a book. I am consistently blown away by the appealing, detailed, and colorful art (Matthew Roberts, Owen Gieni) and how it brings the narrative alive. The series reads like a lost journal of mystery and suspense, making the great unknown feel very real and all around you (as well it should). If I have any complaint, it’s that the art and dialog are so illuminating and crisply detailed that it’s almost difficult to feel the sheer terror I imagine one would in the situations the characters are put into. I think that’s actually a compliment….

Reviewed by: Will Hessling
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