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"Manifest Destiny #40" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Image Comics / Skybound Entertainment


Written by Chris Dingess
Illustrated by Matthew Roberts
Colored by Owen Gieni
Lettered by Pat Brosseau
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 1st, 2020


Who knew traveling across North America to make it safe for settlers going out west would be so difficult or deadly? Well, probably everyone. The crew finds another arch in the wilderness, this one seemingly made of fur. There's always some evil brewing nearby these things, so what are they to make of the women that appear and welcome the men into their village close by? While they won't get the reference because film won't be invented for some time, this looks like the beginning of a Cinemax movie, as these strapping and tiresome men stroll into a habitat full of nothing but women. You know this is going to go horribly wrong, right?

The beauty of Manifest Destiny #40 is how it lulls you into this false sense of security. Sure, there's an ominous tone about this whole situation, but maybe, just maybe, things will be ok. I know I shouldn't think like that, but I can't help myself. These guys have been through such hardships over the course of this excursion, so you can imagine how excited some of them are at the idea of all these women.

Click images to enlarge

That's not to say that they're going to rape and pillage this place. They're still soldiers and gentlemen for the most part. It just lowers their inhibitions and they do whatever they can to get back there and into the warm embraces of these ladies.

Writer Chris Dingess adds just the right amount of oddities to this visit. For example, the women have normal names, but they pronounce them strangely like Susa Nah and Marget. It's like they've lost the understanding of where their names came from.

This is just a bit odd, but add to it their knowing glances between each other when the soldiers ask about the whereabouts of the men of the village and you know that something's up. Artist Matthew Roberts turns these stoic women into sly tricksters with these looks. Everyone's facial expressions are is pretty spot on in Manifest Destiny #40. Roberts conveys a lot with each one, from mystery to intrigue to suspicion to warmth.

Click image to enlarge

Of course, things take a pretty terrifying twist by the end of this issue. I won't spoil the big reveal, but suffice it to say it's startling and more than a little unsettling. It creeps up on you, making you wonder if you really just saw that or if it was a trick of the light or the effects of rum on these soldiers. All doubt is lost by the final page, as we see the reality of what's going on and it's rather horrifying.

Colorist Owen Gieni adds to this uncertainty, as the final scenes are lit by a campfire. This casts a warm glow on everyone, creating a jovial atmosphere and further digging into that false sense of security I mentioned earlier. The sky is a welcoming shade of purple. All is right with the world...until it isn't.

Just when you think these guys will catch a break, they stumble upon brand new horrors. That's the fun of Manifest Destiny. You never know what's lurking just ahead in this great journey of exploration and adventure. More often than not, it's pure, unbridled terror with monsters the likes of which haven't been seen on this continent in a few hundred years.


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Art: fourandahalfstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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