- Series: Manifest Destiny
- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Image Comics (May 27, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1607069822
- ISBN-13: 978-1607069829
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.4 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 56 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #287,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Manifest Destiny Volume 1: Flora & Fauna Paperback – May 27, 2014
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I primarily review graphic novels and my rating system is simple. 5 stars for books that I couldn't put down and read from start to finish in one sitting. 4 stars for excellent books that I highly recommend and will continue reading myself. 3 stars for books I liked and may recommend. 2 stars and below for books I would not recommend.
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This is a very fun read, with excellent art.
Volume 1 collects 6 issues, and while there's a complete story arc there, its seems to mainly set the stage for what's to come. That's not to say anything is lacking, though. You'll get exactly what you came for: Lewis and Clark meeting their guide, proceeding westward, making some scientific sketches...also there are monsters, an unstable contingent of convicts within the Corps of Discover, and some unfortunate settlers rescued from a frontier fort who are now along for the ride. Interestingly, Dingess writes Captain Lewis as a cheerful, optimistic scientist, with Clark more tortured by their military past, a reversal of the historical evidence for a rather depressed Lewis...but then, none of us are reading this book about monster fighters on the frontier for a history lesson. I look forward to seeing how this story develops.
The premise is of course fantastical but you have to think in the minds of the men on this journey into the uncharted heart of the wildest America that monsters could be hiding in the 6 foot tall grass of the plains, in the deep river canyons or in the snows of the Rocky Mountains. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book.
The premise is outrageous. It follows Lewis and Clark’s expedition through the American frontier in 1804. But they are not only charged with charting the unknown by President Jefferson; they are also assigned to find and eradicate any dangers to the American people—dangers pertaining to that of cryptozoology.
In this volume Lewis and Clark, as well as their crew of soldiers and paroled criminals, encounter a band of creatures similar to that of a Minotaur. However, it’s not quite a Minotaur, which brings about some much needed levity as Lewis and Clark try to designate it. There is also a plant that overtakes mammals and transforms them into something akin to zombies. The forest is overrun with it, and the men cannot let it continue to thrive no matter how much danger it may pose to the crew.
Yes, this sounds ridiculous.
I’m telling you, though, it’s written so well, with just enough humor, just enough gravitas, just enough believability, that you’ll find yourself completely immersed. The art, by the way, is absolutely stunning. Matthew Roberts is the rare talent who can draw people, clothing, nature, and monsters in the same style and make it all look detailed, dynamic, and downright pretty. Yes, his monsters are disgusting and scary, but artistically speaking, you can’t help but admire them as works of beauty. Roberts’ art is amplified by Owen Gieni’s gorgeous colors. All of this book takes place in the wilds of an untamed America, and Gieni found the perfect blend of earth tones to make each and every page pop.
I read a lot of graphic novels, and I can honestly say (again) that this is the most excited I’ve been for a new series in years and years. If there’s any small part of you considering this book, go ahead and buy it now. You will not be disappointed.
Oh, by the way, the breakout character of the book? A Sacagawea you do NOT want to cross.
The characters develop well and have distinct personalities and realistic human interactions.
That is one of the best things about this book.
The other great thing is the suspense.
Unfortunately though, the suspense doesn't really last very long.
All in all it was a great book and I do plan on continuing the series, but its not super high on my priorities list.
This book gets a Silver medal, but not a Gold.