Manifest Destiny Volume 1 Flora & Fauna Review
VOLUME 1 FLORA & FAUNA
CHRIS DINGESS -WRITER
MATTHEW ROBERTS-PENCILER & INKER
If you like history mixed with science fiction, horror, and fantasy you'll probably enjoy this book. It is about The Lewis and Clark Expedition. Producer and writer, Chris Dingess, created this series with illustrator, Matthew Roberts, and colorist, Owen Gieni. It is an interesting, unique, crazy take on the Corps of Discover Expedition as it is also known.
The story starts with the narrative of Lewis Meriweather journaling. It continues throughout the story and makes it quite believable it could be the actual historic journal of Lewis, for the most part. I say for the most part because that's when the interesting, unique, crazy stuff comes into play. It's not long into the book that the crew of soldiers and criminals come upon a giant arch made of vegetation. Immediately after the crew is attacked by what I can only describe as a monstrous Buffaloe-man centaur. It's terrifying. I enjoy how Lewis is written as this nerdy scientist type whereas Clark is depicted as a hardened relentless military officer. Clark is stern with his men and cruel to the other crew members. He even lashed them to discipline them. The man has some serious demons which are only slightly revealed in this volume. This team works well as the brain and brawn as they go up against a tribe of Buffaloe(cent)taurs(?) and viral vegetation that turns out to be much more. Somehow they incorporate that and even zombielike beings and creatures and still make it work. It is once they reach La Charrette that they encounter all of this. The best was when they revealed Sacagawea and what she's capable off. It reminded me of anime because the female was the most badass character. I also really enjoyed how they incorporated the mission of the Corps of Discover Expedition: explore the western territory of the US, establish contact, peace, and trade with natives, and clear the way for peaceful settlement.
The art fits the style very well. It has a West Frontier kind of look to it. The pencils are semi-realistic, inks are thin, the colors are bright yet natural. The color palette is constantly changing , almost every page, keeping it fresh, lively, and never boring. The inks are fluid, never appearing motionless. Each panel looks like people caught in between and during moments. The art makes it feel so real despite how ridiculous it gets. The buffalotaurs were absolutely horrifying due to the detail and realism brought to them. The environments and landscapes were so lush and bountiful. The art does a fantastic job of balancing the beauty of the land with the hideous creatures.
Overall this was an enjoyable book. The art is impressive, the writing is solid, dialogue is good, but the story left something to be desired. I'm not sure if it was because it was a little too over the top or because it's just the beginning of this series, story, and expedition. I would like to see more Sacagawea being a badass which was probably one of the more believable aspects of this book. I feel like this series has potential to be great but right now it's only good. It's hard to say if I am willing to throw down fifteen bucks for volume 2. What's a nice incentive for getting into a new series like this is that Image always sells the first volume for ten dollars so it's never too much of a financial burden to try something new. I don't think this book will be for everybody but it might be for you so give a Skim. Personally I give it a STRONG Skim because this is definitely a book that requires strong consideration as both the art and writing are quite enjoyable to the point that skimming this will likely persuade you one way or another whether it will be worth the $10 or not.
Verdict: STRONG Skim