I have so much love for this issue that it's hard to find a place to start talking about it. First and foremost, while the Lewis and Clark adventures continue to move forward, what I found really brilliant about this issue was that time progressed. That last story arc had them wrapped up in the same spot for quite a bit, squaring off against a man eating frog and giant mosquitoes and to think that this group would run into another giant beast, right away, might be overkill.
However, the journal entries move forward the adventure over a month, which feels like it gives these characters a real break so it's not back-to-back events beating these guys down, like so many other books. You don't feel like these characters lives are unnecessarily hectic.
If you love reveals, then this is the issue for you. Why did Lewis and Clark head across the newly purchased American land? To kill some monsters. President Jefferson sent Lewis on this task, as we get to see in a flashback scene. That's a pretty exciting reveal to the reader. In addition, as Lewis and Clark talk to a local Native American tribe, and it's revealed that the arcs scattered around the land are each home to some of these beasts. There's also another quick reveal about what's going to happen to the men as they press forward.
The book then goes into the idea that these are gods and the tribes don't really want to mess around with them. Both of these reveals really change the whole dynamic of the book and how the reader views the series. What a fantastic turn. Chris Dingess is doing an amazing job with this series as the writer.
The art from Matthew Roberts and colors of Owen Gieni continue to impress. During the flashback scene, Gieni chooses a great color palate that conveys the idea of a flashback, but it has a little bit of a kick with the usage of bright reds. Roberts has a couple of beautiful looking splash pages here that have some great looking creatures on them. He always does a great job over-emphasizing these creatures we already know and making them into terrors.
There's a moment, when the group is in the tent, where the backgrounds became incredibly distracting to the scene. The streaks of color took away from what was actually happening. That's the only complaint.
This is easily the best issue of MANIFEST DESTINY yet. A lot happens here and there's a lot to take in, but it's not overwhelming. The new reveals really change the perspective of the series and its characters. This book is plotted out insanely well and it's great to continue to be surprised by a series a year in. There's still mystery and the book still captivates. MANIFEST DESTINY continues to be one of my favorite on-going series.