Wow. Chris Dingess, Matthew Roberts and company do a remarkable job getting and keeping you wrapped up in the fantasy of Manifest Destiny but it’s their brutal reminder about how the west was championed that adds the significant weight to issue #18 and to the entire series. This is not a dialogue or narrative heavy issue and it’s overwhelmingly in the reader’s favor for it. The brevity and succinctness of the narration and dialogue allow the art to effectively show and push the story along at a frantic pace. It’s easy to flip from page to page but I would caution any reader to slow down and catch all the small, remarkable details scattered along the trail. Meander through the intonation of the single Fezron feather on the cover to the tortured expression on Jameson’s face as his head is repurposed by the Vameter to the silhouette in Dawhogg’s eyes on the next to last page. The pain of conquest is literally drawn (figuratively written) all over the character’s faces.
The page and panel layout remain stellar. Negative space both with the characters and in the backgrounds stand out, I also can not say enough positive things about the coloring throughout. So I will stop there instead of filling the space with adjectives and comparisons.
Welcome to the Wild West. It’s been so long since Lewis and Clark forayed into unknown territories and it’s easy to forget how brutal men had to be to ‘civilize’ the west. The reality of that fact is here, in this issue. Hidden amidst the fantasy and the fictionalized beasts and cultures has always been the brutality of man, a picture of what man had to become to conquer the western territories. It’s not so hidden now. Issue #18 reminds us all that no matter what we think or feel now, civilizing the west was a whitewash of everything else that existed before.
Manifest Destiny #18 Writer: Chris Dingess Artist: Matthew Roberts Publisher: Image/Skybound Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/28/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital