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Review: Manifest Destiny #1

Manifest Destiny #1 cover

The idea of Manifest Destiny is something that you probably learned in U.S. History. This idea was that the American settlers had a destiny of expanding across the continent. To this end, the expedition of Lewis and Clark was sent out to explore and map the whole of the Louisiana Purchase in 1804. Through many trials and hardships, they did just that, submitting a completed map and report to the Congress after the completion of their journey in 1806.

Great history lesson, right? So, what does that have to do with comic books? Why am I asking so many questions? Is there going to be a test?

Manifest Destiny #1 panel aImage Comics newest release, in conjunction with Skybound Comics, Manifest Destiny #1 tells the tale of Lewis and Clark’s journey to find a clear path Westward through the Louisiana Purchase. Sounds like a regular history comic or something you might see in Classics Illustrated, but this book has a cool twist. Manifest Destiny #1 shows us the true purpose of Lewis and Clark’s mission from President Jefferson. Hunt down and destroy the monsters that infest this nation and make it safe.

That’s right, monster hunting was the primary mission of Lewis and Clark. This story is really interesting. Written by Chris Dingess with impressive art from Matthew Roberts, Manifest Destiny has all the makings for a great new series. As the expedition cross the country, the exploration of the personal interactions between the soldiers and the “expendables”, the criminals and convicts that were offered pardons for the service, become a major focal point in the story.

Fear and trepidation follow the troops, but also the idea that most of the soldiers and criminals have no real idea why they are along for this ride. Punishment is swift for those who slip out of line. This just makes the criminals more resentful and they begin to talk about desertion.

Manifest Destiny #1 panel bThe expedition, fearing they may never find anything, finally come upon something that may seem familiar in our day and age, although it is not covered in metal but made of foliage; The Gateway Arch in St. Louis. This version, looking like some crazy topiary, is the first point of investigation for this strange trip. While Lewis begins sketching and testing the arch, Clark sends out the troops to secure the perimeter. Out of the treeline rides what can only be described as a beast, a monster like a Minotaur and a centaur, heading straight for Lewis in hopes of cutting their investigation short.

What will happen to this crew of soldiers and misfits? You will have to check out this new book to find out. I was really impressed and can’t wait for the next issue.

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