Manifest Destiny #31 Review: Slow-Burning Madness

Manifest Destiny #31
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Summary
Writer: Chris Dingess, Penciler: Matthew Roberts, Inker: Tony Akins, Color Artist: Owen Gieni, Publisher: Image Comics, Release Date: Out Now, Price: $3.99
Cover to Manifest Destiny #31 by Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni
Manifest Destiny #31 cover by Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni

In the wake of the Fog, Lewis and Clark strive to rebuild their fort and hold out against the winter. Clark is put in charge of the fort while Lewis watches the invisible arch.

Neither have been left unshaken. Lewis grows mad while Clark grows cold and impatient.

Sacagawea, meanwhile, refuses to name her child and seems oddly resistant towards it.

This comic is a slow burn, more interested in showing where the headspaces of its lead characters are at than advancing the plot too much. You get to see how shaken Lewis and Clark are and their quickening marches towards madness.

Clark's journal narrates the comic, and he is painted as the one more firmly planted in reality at the moment. However, the comic uses subtle means to show how damaged Clark's psyche really is. It's an impressive piece of storytelling that keeps the comic engaging.

In reality, Lewis may be the more rational one at the moment. They've seen something impossible to explain, and he accepts that in a way Clark may not.

The willingness to pace itself is an admirable trait in Manifest Destiny. Where many superhero comics, for better or worse, feel compelled to give a villain in every issue, Manifest Destiny isn't afraid of a little down time to build tension and suspense.

Matthew Roberts's art is quite good, with a rugged and detailed world drawn around the two leads. The eyes are especially good, with the noticeable shaken Lewis having something akin to the thousand-yard stare in his eyes. Clark has anger and fire in his. Roberts shows a lot of chops as an artist in this issue.

Owen Gieni's color art is equally expressive, showing the tone and atmosphere of every scene with the right color choice. The two together make for a great-looking book in Manifest Destiny.

This comic is an intriguing read, opting for slow-boil storytelling as opposed to back-to-back terror. It works greatly in its favor and makes for a great read. Give Manifest Destiny a try.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.