Monday, 2 November 2015

Manifest Destiny, Volume 3: Chiroptera & Carniformaves Review (Chris Dingess, Matthew Roberts)


Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea and the crew continue on their way into the wilderness that is the western half of 1804 America - and who’da thunk it, they discover another dang arch! Which of course only means one thing: horrible things are on the way! This time it’s a vampire bird monster called the Vameter and a group of small bear/bird hybrids called Fezrons. 

I do like Manifest Destiny but, three volumes in, it’s already starting to feel formulaic in that each book is a “monster of the week” kinda deal. Volume 1 was the buffalotaurs and the plant zombies, volume 2 was the giant frog and fly monsters, volume 3 is the creatures mentioned above. The monsters are imaginative but the structure and approach to the series feels predictable. 

The Fezrons are also a bit too much like… like… the Ewoks (throws up)! Cute little woodland creatures that live in forest villages, are quite primitive and are in the process of eating a human. Sounds like the goddamn Ewoks to me! Maybe you liked those annoying Star Wars teddy bears so you’ll love the Fezrons but not me. Fezrons aside, the Vameter is pretty cool. It has a stump instead of a head and places the decapitated head of its last victim on the stump and uses it like a puppet which is super-creepy and original! 

It’s revealed through flashbacks that there was another expedition from three years earlier that attempted what Lewis and Clark are doing now but it’s unclear at the moment what happened to them. I guess we’ll find out in a later volume and I’m sure whatever fate they met won’t be good! There are also some flashbacks to Sacagawea’s harsh childhood, so there is some variety in the overall story mix but nothing exceptionally interesting or unexpected…

… Until those final few pages - wow! Of course I won’t say what happened but it’s pretty shocking to see our main characters acting the way they do, though perhaps not so when historically considering the colonisation of America. Still, it makes Lewis and Clark that much more complex as characters. It’s a bold and very interesting choice by writer Chris Dingess. 

Matthew Roberts’ art is as high quality as ever and the creature designs continue to impress, while colourist Owen Gieni’s pages remain as effervescent and lively as they’ve been throughout, bringing out the beauty and freshness of unspoiled nature with his work. 

The third volume of Manifest Destiny is decent but without many surprises - it feels like the creative team has settled into a fine rhythm but aren’t doing anything to make readers terribly excited about their series. There’s enough here to entertain though and if you’ve been following the books so far you’ll find it’s a perfectly adequate read.

Manifest Destiny, Volume 3: Chiroptera & Carniformaves

No comments:

Post a Comment