Sunday, 29 June 2014

Manifest Destiny #7 Review (Chris Dingess, Matthew Roberts, Owen Gieni)

Chris Dingess, Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni’s Manifest Destiny makes a welcome return, kicking off its second arc nicely in #7. 

Our heroes, Lewis and Clark, along with Sacagawea and their crew, are making their way downriver after the nightmare that was La Charrette. But what they found in that outpost looks to be only the beginning…

This isn’t the most action-packed issue but it’s never boring. Writer Chris Dingess works on a new character, Madam Boniface, as she assists Lewis in studying the monsters they’re encountering in the new world - and discovers his real reason for being out here in the first place. There are also welcome snapshots into the supporting characters’ backgrounds and how they ended up on this increasingly more dangerous mission. 

The strange new world they’re in keeps the comic tense as anything could happen at any moment - and of course does. The boat gets snagged in the river on an underwater arch, like the one from the first issue, which seems to act as a warning sign in this part of the world. And then - well, I won’t spoil it, but yikes! 

I’ve mentioned the art team, Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni, every time I write about this series but it can’t be underplayed just how good the art in this series is. Dingess knows this and gives them more splash pages to display their talents. So right away on page two we see Sacagawea taking on a giant ladybird (a more action version of that scene is on the amazing cover by comics legends Marc Silvestri and Todd McFarlane), with the arch getting a page, a row boat getting capsized (a literal splash page!), and the last page reveal. 

All of the splash pages are well placed so that they nicely break up the issue but in no way interrupt the flow of the story. And they’re such beautiful images - the pencils, inks and colours merge perfectly on the page so you find yourself lingering over them, going back and looking at them again. It’s really first class artwork. 

Manifest Destiny #7 is an excellent start to the second arc in the series. The characters get more fleshed out, there are some new monsters to fight, and there’s all the potential in the world to see what’s around the next bend in the river. Get the first trade if you haven’t read it, then pick up #7, and enjoy one of the best original comics of the last year!

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