Graphic Novelty²


Owen Gieni

Manifest Destiny: Volumes 5 & 6

The reimanging of the Lewis and Clark expedition continues as history, colonization and government conspiracies are shaken up together into a unique tale about the Corps of Discovery.

Volume 5: Mnemphobia & Chronophobia

In November of 1804 , Fort Mandan is built in North Dakota so the corps could winter safely before continuing on their journey in the spring. As soon as the fort is finished, a dense fog rolls in and everyone begins to experience paranoia and delusions.  All the creatures that the corps have encountered seem to come at them, and the past sins of the soldiers come back to haunt them. Thus the title of the book comes into focus, as the fear of memories and anxiety over the passage of time are shown.  It is during this chaos that Sacagawea goes into labor while battling her own private demons. Little Jean Baptsite’s birth is tempered by the knowledge of the subterfuge Lewis and Clark are planning regarding the infant, and Sacagawea’s strange acquiescence about it.

The art remains strong with layouts that are fresh and unique. The era is beautifully rendered with the clothing, guns, buildings and landscapes accurately drawn. Plus the creatures are freakishly awesome!

Volume 6: Fortis & Invisibilia

Mutiny! A few weeks after the dangerous fog, nerves are frayed and Lewis is obsessively monitoring the arch discovered nearby. Sargeant Pryor preaches to the soldiers and develops a following, creating a rift between those who align with him, and those that stay true to Lewis and Clark. Eventually Pryor plans a coup and the leaders are ejected from the fort along with others. The ghostly conquistador from Volume Four is moving between soldiers hoping to find the strongest leader to fulfill his diabolical plan for conquest. This volume was a bit of a convoluted mess, and I was having trouble keeping straight who was who among the soldiers.

This story dragged for me, as two volumes have been set in the fort, and the dead of winter hasn’t even begun. They need to pick up the pace of the storytelling for there is still much to tell of the journey, and they are nowhere near the Pacific Northwest yet. I checked when the next issue is out, and I don’t see a date yet, so I am worried that this series will ignobly end before the journey can be properly told. Despite my rough start with this series and these shaky middle volumes, I hope the entire scope of this re-imagined  journey can be properly told.


Read the proceeding volumes: Volume One, Volumes Two-Four

Manifest Destiny: Volumes Two-Four

Two years ago when I read Volume One: Flora & Fauna of this series that reimages the Lewis and Clark expedition, I hated it. I was turned off by the historical inaccuracies and the crudeness of the characters. But I recently decided to give it another go and picked up the next three volumes.

Never say never.

Continue reading “Manifest Destiny: Volumes Two-Four”

Manifest Destiny Volume 1: Flora & Fauna

Dingress, Chris, Matthew Roberts & Owen Gieni. Manifest Destiny. 2014.

Lewis and Clark…Sacagawea…exploring new lands…meeting new people…the adventure of a lifetime- what could possibly go wrong???

As coincidence would have it, I was reading this book while my family was in St. Louis, where this adventure gets it’s start. It was a neat juxtaposition to compare the pictures of the Mississippi and the arch in the book, to what the city and surrounding area look like now. What starts out as what you imagine the expedition looked like in 1804, quickly takes a sharp left turn when the group encounters a living arch, Minotaur type creatures who are half human/ half bison, and vegetation that take over people turning them into plant zombies. Sacagawea is introduced as a mysterious warrior along with her disgusting husband Charbonneau.

I had SO many problems with this book. I thought at first, cool, this story will be fun. It was not. What upset me the most was how Sacagawea was portrayed. It first must be noted that I don’t like when historical women are misrepresented to the public. The Disney movie about Pocahontas and the Fox movie about Anastasia drive me wild with how inaccurate they are and my worry that youth will watch them and think they are historically factual.  While I understand that no one is reading this graphic novel for it’s accuracy, I was pissed at how she was portrayed. She was sexualized and crude comments were made about her by some of the men. This then leads into my next complaint- the mature content. This was some of my own doing for I failed to notice the small notice on the back that it was rated M. It’s not that I’m a prude, I read and enjoy The Walking Dead and Locke & Key that incorporate sexuality into their stories, but in this story is seemed gratuitous. I think younger boys might gravitate towards this book that is labeled action/adventure and then be introduced to some wildly inappropriate remarks and pictures while reading the novel.

So Image Comics takes history, government conspiracies, and re-images (get my pun?) the events by shaking it all together into what I consider a convoluted mess. There are future volumes, as this first volume only covers the beginning of the journey. I am vaguely interested in the Sacagawea plot line and what subterfuge Lewis and Clark hinted at regarding her and her future infant and how it will play out, plus I know the expedition will be eventually encountering Big Foot/Sasquatch, so I might skim future volumes just so I can get upset again 😉



Manifest pic
Heeeellp…you are about to be taken on a convoluted ride!!!

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