Friday, 19 September 2014

Manifest Destiny #10 Review (Chris Dingess, Matthew Roberts)


Lewis and Clark’s expedition are separated and in trouble. Clark and a group that includes Sacagawea are on the shore being attacked by giant mosquitoes, while Lewis and the others are on the boat, anchored in the middle of the river by an underwater arch and held in place by a giant monster toad lurking nearby that Lewis has named a ranidea. 

In this issue, Clark manages to capture a giant mosquito to send a sample to Lewis on the boat to analyse and come up with an effective way of dealing with them. They realise that the beautiful blue flowers that Sacagawea noticed kept the mosquitoes away in Manifest Destiny #8 are the probable solution, and begin to make an insecticide from them. 

Meanwhile, the problem of one of Clark’s men attempting to rape one of the women they rescued from La Charette is still being discussed with possible punishments to be meted out. They also strike out into the forest to look for two missing men - and, of course, find more horrors! 

The second arc in Manifest Destiny is a lot slower and is, disappointingly, turning out to be less interesting than the first. It’s definitely had its moments and I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s boring, but giant mosquitoes and toads don’t have the same effect as buffalotaurs and plant zombies. Plus, it feels like they’ve been stuck in this same area for way too long now - I really want them to get moving again into a more compelling location to explore. 

Matthew Roberts’ art is as lovely as ever and the splash pages continue to be his shining moments. The page where Lewis experiments on the mosquito by dribbling the blue solution onto it was quite stunning. Owen Gieni’s colours give the comic a lush look, especially in his choice of blue for the flowers. 

The series still has enormous potential but the second arc of Manifest Destiny really isn’t living up to it. MD #10 is a decent, if fairly mundane, issue that pales in comparison to far stronger past comics. Chris Dingess and co. can do much better than this - let’s hope, going forward, they do.

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