So when you’re faced with plant-like zombies that appear to be an unstoppable force which neither knife nor bullet can hold back, that leaves you with one option: KILL IT WITH FIRE! Sorry, that’s just the pyro in me freaking out that I can actually use that phrase in a review involving plant zombies and Lewis and Clark. And that last sentence is exactly why I love Manifest Destiny.
Okay, so that isn’t the only thing that happens, but it’s at least part of the plot in the latest issue. With the unfortunate turning of Sgt. Floyd into one of the plant zombies, Lewis and Clark attempt to deal with the situation in manners befitting of their respective personalities. Clark orders a torch to burn the former soldier while Lewis wants to examine Floyd and tries to appeal to the man within. Though Floyd seems to respond, at first, he’s quickly overcome by the forest legion, pushing Lewis and Clark to perform a bit of teamwork to bring Floyd down. It’s a fantastically well done sequence thanks to the writing of Chris Dingess and the amazing art of Matthew Roberts. The pace with which Lewis and Clark move when both come to the same conclusion about Floyd is filled with equal parts action, humor and pathos. Lewis, ever the gentleman soldier, politely asking to borrow a bayonet from one of the men is a particular favorite scene of mine.
Acquiring a sample from Floyd, the men promptly put him out of his misery and manage to make it back to their boat. After informing the rest of the expedition about their exploits in the forest, the men are certain Lewis and Clark are prepared to return to civilization. Unfortunately, the duo have no such plans. They intend to find the root of the problem and destroy it so that this disease doesn’t spread to the rest of the United States. With only the option of fire to destroy their enemy, Lewis reveals that one of the crates stored in their ship is filled with bombs of Greek fire, which is essentially early napalm. It’s also worth noting that there was a crate full of wooden stakes in the cargo hold as well, so it seems Jefferson wanted the expedition prepared for anything and everything. Believing they now have the advantage over the wilderness, the expedition makes their way back into the forest to find the source, but what’s waiting for them is nothing short of spine-chilling.
It should come as no surprise that I’m head over heels for this book. Dingess continues to keep the story fresh by not lingering too long on certain set pieces. The fort was good for playing off of the mystery and the insular nature of being trapped by monsters, but sticking to the one spot would have gotten old after more than a few issues. Thankfully, Dingess knows when to move on and how to move the story along through the actions of the characters. Lewis and Clark’s mission is the highest priority and it’s already put them in several harrowing situations and introduced them to amazing and frightening creatures few would believe exist beyond the Mississippi River. There’s also the continuing mystery of Sacagawea and how she fits into all of this. If Lewis and Clark were told to meet up with her and Charbonneau, and the fact that she’s a pregnant warrior who kills monsters is a big deal, then I can only imagine what bigger role she has to play. Sacagawea was instrumental in the survival of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in real life, so I’m excited to see where Dingess takes this in the narrative.
And I’m not kidding when I say that the last page of this issue will probably give you nightmares or disturb you beyond belief. Well done, Matthew Roberts. Well done, indeed!
Rating – 10/10
Final Thoughts: I’m pretty sure if you stare at the final page long enough it’ll swallow your soul. But, ya know, in a good way.