Last month, I once again began to feel the love for this series. It has definitely had its share of hits and misses to be sure. But Issue #14 was a nice change of pace. And it actually looked like the ship may have been righted from a series that has had some anticlimactic endings, some quick dismissals of some nasty adversaries, and some blah writing from a historical fiction piece that has all the potential in the world. In uncovering the bizarre “other” history of the epic Lewis and Clark journey, writer Chris Dingess and artist Matthew Roberts have at times filled me with hope. But at other times, sent me crashing down in despair. Issue #15 picks up in a challenge that was issued during the last issue between Lewis and the near mutinous crew. Lewis challenged the crew to a good old fashioned fisticuffs hoping to curb any insurrection intent. At hand, is a battle with one Mr. Frike, who is a rather large man described as having “large hands like to hams made of iron.” Our much less muscled Lewis has to rely on his wits and determination to get through. Does he make intact and with his teeth? You must read the story to find out. All I can say is that it does end painfully for one of our combatants.
With the battle finished we are given a little surprise between an avian predator that had attacked one of the crew before captured. Apparently, he speaks…well. This is just the kind of oddball weirdness within this series that makes it memorable sometimes. And I am happy for it in regard to this one. Between the more predictable pathways of destruction that this series has taken the reader down. I must say that Issue #15 was kind of a breath of fresh air. A new direction is entered and it is a welcome change of pace. Making it more interesting, we discover the fates of some missing crew and persons as well. All in all, a pretty satisfying issue.
Chris Dingess hits a strong writing chord within this issue as he is beginning to address the dark side of Merriweather Lewis. He isn’t all egghead to the rugged toughness of William Clark. Lewis has an edge about him that makes him the real wildcard of this series. Dingess brings that nature out well in this issue which is only enhanced by Lewis’ own written musings of the scenes.
With the art, Matthew Roberts has made the bizarre and surreal look actually kind of real. He has placed a natural feel to the unnatural leaving us with a first time look at some pretty bizarre looking creatures. With our blue bird named Dawhog, he captures a real smarmy looking character with the poses of a real smart ass bird. Well done man.
Yes, as our expedition delves deeper into the unknown, those lesser persons are getting weeded out. And what is left is becoming a tight unit that might just become a strong and sound team if they decide not to run off or kill off the team’s leaders. But as for this new angle. I gotta say that I like it pretty good.
We are seeing a new civilization that promises to get a little interesting with the next issue. Only time will tell if things are really headed back in the right direction. But two in a row of good issues is a promising start for me. I’m ready guys. Let’s see some more. Before it is all over, I might have that same fascination that I had at the beginning. Oh yeah. I also loved this cover. Nice doom bringing foreshadowing there.