Manifest Destiny #23
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Chris Dingess
Pencils: Matthew Roberts
Inks: Tony Akins and Stefano Gaudiano
Colours: Owen Gieni
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Issue #22 of Manifest Destiny was mostly focussed on captain Helm, the leader of an expedition that predated Lewis and Clark’s by three years. The ghost of Maldonado has led him and colonel Flewelling before a creature called Navath, who pushed them to kill each other – or rather, insisted that they fight until only one of them survives. In the opening pages of this #23 we see that the survivor is Helm, whose diary we have been reading until now. Soon after we cut back to the Lewis and Clark expedition, on its way to meet the Teton, a possibly hostile tribe of natives.
In this fifth (of six) issue in the “Sasquatch” story arc, there are no sasquatch in sight: apparently, the more recent expedition has succeeded in wiping them off the face of the Earth after Helm’s men have all been killed by the monsters themselves (with the exception of Flewelling and of Helm himself, of course). I have the impression that they won’t be back in issue #24, that is instead likely to finally show us how Lewis ended up owning captain Helm’s diary – and maybe to find out what Navath wanted from the military man if not who or what the monster really is.
Manifest Destiny is characterised by its luscious settings, in the untouched Mississippi valley; nature is always present, often in the background but more than once central to the plot itself. Matthew Roberts, with Akins and Gaudiano as inkers and Owen Gieni’s colours, once again does an amazing job at making every detail in every panel come to life, from the signs on a man’s face to the feathers on a bird’s wings, from the leaves on the trees to the dust raised by the native dancers.
It’s not the first time that, reviewing Manifest Destiny, I praise Pat Brosseau’s lettering. Quite often we just don’t notice it, but here we are able to easily tell Helm’s handwriting apart from Lewis’s, to see that Navath talks in unnatural tones.
A very interesting issue, and the next will bring one more story arc to a close – even though, in the fanmail page, we are told that this time the end of this part of the series will be… different. We only need to wait and see.