When most people think of comic books, they probably think of DC and Marvel. The Big Two have given us Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Avengers, X-Men, etc. For my money, though, Image is publishing the best regular series of books. I find myself recommending their their titles more than anyone else’s. Alex + Ada, Lazarus, Morning Glories, and Velvet are a few of my favorites. Image also compiles the first few issue of series in trade paperbacks format for $10, just to give you a taste. Since comics can be $4 per issue now, that’s a great deal for print books.
Manifest Destiny Vol. One: Flora & Fauna, collects the first six issues of Manifest Destiny. The book centers around famed explorers Lewis and Clark, and their expedition to explore the frontier. While you may know the broad strokes of their story from history class (or Drunk History), this book provides some more…fantastical stories from their journey.
Chris Dingess’ story, Matthew Roberts’ pencil and ink work, and Owen Gieni’s coloring in particular all give Flora & Fauna a gorgeous, crisp, Western, earthy look and feel that fits the tone of the book perfectly. The beauty and foreboding danger of the American frontier are apparent in the art. The coloring helps you breathe the unpolluted air, feel the warmth of the campfire, smell the effluvia of whatever may lurk in the unexplored woods.
Dingess was also a writer on Agent Carter. He has a knack for capturing tones and cadences in period pieces that is apparent in this book and in Carter. Pacing and dialogue are tight; he can fit a lot of story and personality in relatively short spaces.
The only drawbacks to Image’s trades are that they don’t include a lot of extras and they don’t necessarily tell a whole story. For the price, though, extras aren’t a necessity. Manifest Destiny is an ongoing title, so while you may finish a particular set of chapters or mini arcs, you won’t necessarily have a true resolution. The good news, though, is that Vol. 2 is already for sale!