Manifest Destiny is a sure-fire hit for history buffs and horror lovers alike.
If you’re a sucker for historical fiction, ghouls, and goblins, then you’ve come to the right place.
The premise of Manifest Destiny is simple enough: the secret, mystical adventures of Lewis & Clark as they explore the American West. In a way, it is not unlike Jonathan Hickman’s Manhattan Projects, in that the title couches its additive history in solid, documented fact. Writer Chris Dingess peppers the text with bits and pieces of Merriwether Lewis’s actual journal, an element which lends authenticity to the overall work while simultaneously highlighting the incongruity of the book’s more fantastical elements against the backdrop of “true” history.
Dingess also goes to great lengths to show humanity’s dark side in this inaugural issue. We see the harshness of travelling conditions, the rough quality of the men chosen to accompany the storied duo, and their own human frailties on full display. That Dingess does this suggests that the title will explore the mystical reflections of people’s own worst nature.
Aiding him in this attempt is artist Matthew Roberts, whose detailed pencils convey a deep emotional sensibility which reads very well on the page. The characters each possess an emotional range which Roberts conveys superbly, giving the reader everything needed to invest in the cast. This is no mean feat when dealing with real-world historical figures, so that effort goes a long way in humanizing the book. Roberts shows the public persona each of the characters presents, while also turning a light on those facets they keep hidden.
The first issue does what first issues must; it establishes the leads as well as most of their supporting cast while also giving an inkling as to the narrative thrust of the story. Without spoiling, I’ll simply say that it appears there is much about the mystical history of the American West which is hidden in plain sight.
Manifest Destiny is a sure-fire hit for history buffs and horror lovers alike. With all the seeds planted in the first 22 pages, it will be well worth the month-long wait to see what they sprout into.
Josh Epstein is the Publisher for the Capeless Crusader website. He also hosts the weekly Infinite Crossover podcast in cooperation with Fanboys Inc. He’s a lifelong comic nerd, and “Superman” is the first word he ever read aloud. He is also an actor, singer, and daytime supporter of all things technical.