Manifest Destiny from Image Comics tells the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition, though instead of having the pair simply explore and catalogue the Western part of the North American continent in a vain attempt to find a water passage to the Pacific coast, instead here they fight monsters to make the land safe for future settlers.
This fun series continues with the third volume, subtitled Chiroptera & Carniformaves.
If the expedition has learned anything thus far, it’s that if they see a giant arch, something bad is afoot. They found one near the buffalo-human hybrids monsters and the plant zombies, and another underwater where they encountered the giant frog and the equally large mosquitoes. Since the monsters always come in twos, what happens when they encounter an arch that appears to be made of dung?
Well, there are again two types of creatures. One is a solitary winged hunter that steals heads for its own use. The second are the Fezron. These are small bird-bear hybrid creatures with toxic bites and healing urine. Oh, they can also talk and seem intelligent. Carnivorous, shifty, almost friendly, but still, they have a society and aren’t dumb animals acting on instinct. And as much as narrator Lewis is trying to be dispassionate and gentlemanly, no one seems to be buying it anymore except for Lewis himself.
Of more interest for the purposes of the long term story is some background for Sacagawea. We’ve been given hints in the past she is being set up for some dark design, one she is fully aware of and resigned to. While suffering from a fever, we see her flashback to her youth, when her grandfather led her away to learn the ways of a warrior, and while we still don’t know what her actual purpose is, we know what it isn’t: she’s not the guide standard history paints her as. Lewis and Clark note she’d make a good one, though they then remind each other that isn’t her purpose on this expedition.
Writer Chris Dingess and artist Matthew Roberts keep this fun series zipping along. The head thief brings a bit of gory violence to the mix, while the Fezron play as some comic relief even if their story doesn’t end in anything approaching a humorous manner. Much of the series seems to underline the real monsters are the American men on the boat traveling west, and in the meantime, let’s give this one eight and a half machetes at the right moment out of ten.
I might grade it higher if I could remember who many of the extra men on the expedition are. Then it might mean something when some of them die.