September 25, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Comic Review: Manifest Destiny Volume 6

The Corps of Discovery has a problem that doesn't involve weird monsters coming out of mysterious arches: mutiny.

In Manifest Destiny, Lewis and Clark’s expedition to the Pacific has a very different purpose.  Originally sold as a series where the pair were leading a squad of American soldiers and convicts that no one would miss to eliminate all manner of monsters that apparently existed in the Western part of what would eventually be the United States of America, the book has long hinted there was something more going on.

But there’s always been something else, some hidden reason, something Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea were all aware of, and it may be time to find that out in the sixth trade, subtitled Fortis & Invisibilia.

Writer Chris Dingess does some interesting things here.  Most of these trades thus far have used Lewis’s journal as narration, allowing insight into the character and his views on what was going on.  This time around, we actually get other narrators, most notably Clark and one of the French women accompanying the group (her journal is in French, but there’s a translation in the back of the book).  What sets this volume apart is the decision by Lewis and Clark to tell Madame Boniface, the woman who more or less “leads” the French add-ons, what the real purpose of the mission is.  Boniface has taken a deep dislike as it is to both Lewis and Clark for very different reasons, but learning what the Corps of Discovery is actually up to and how Sacajawea is in on the deal is something she didn’t see coming and that she may not be willing to go along with.

However, there’s another problem for Lewis and Clark.  Usually for this series, the problem has been some otherworldly creatures, like giant frogs, plant zombies, or hostile giants that have picked off members of the expedition wherever a stone archway is nearby, and just because this area has an invisible one doesn’t mean that can’t happen.  But the real problem this time isn’t a weird monster; it’s a mutiny.  A religious zealot in the Corps talks a number of the men into forcing Lewis, Clark, and whatever people were loyal to the two of them out, keeping Clark’s slave York to abuse, and forcing the expedition’s leaders to actually think outside the box.  They can’t finish their mission without most of the mutineers.  Can they somehow convince them to come back?

This was good progress for this series.  There’s a dead conquistador that is only visible to select people, whispering devilish words into their ears, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon, but now that the true purpose for the mission is known, is this series in endgame?  How much more will the Corps have to deal with?  I’m still intrigued.  8.5 out of 10 one-legged men getting what they deserved.