World Comic Book Review

2nd March 2024

MANIFEST DESTINY Volume 5 (revisited)

Writer: Chris Dingess

Artists: Matthew Roberts, Tony Aikens, Owen Gieni

Image Comics, March 2014

I KNEW THE HORRORS would overwhelm me and they nearly did. Volume 5 of the collected MANIFEST DESTINY, featuring the true adventures of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery, had me in this volume like always looking for cover, my pulse racing and breath heaving in gasps by the end, happy to be alive. The Corps is only now overwintering near the Mandan villages: one of their first big stops in the public record, and from my view in Oregon barely out of the nest yet. Good Lord, it’s already a very scary frontier.

Only once I stop panting, and focus through the tears on the title of this collection, called “Mnemophobia & Chronophobia,” do I recognize what just occurred: it means an exaggerated fear from your past, and fear of time passing. Together these phobias make a persistent compressing fear as seconds multiply. That is the story in a nutshell.

Reason seems to staunch the fright, whatever makes reason in these cases. Maybe some good herb the Indians seem to possess works, not sure what it is, or maybe they just knew to stay away.

It’s all still a blur. Most of us survived.

I have a hard time saying this story is written by Chris Dingess, drawn by Matthew Roberts, and inked and colored by Tony Aikens and Owen Gieni, like they made it up. For me, it springs full-blown from the brain of Thomas Jefferson, drawn by Clark, and imagined in full spectacle by Lewis; and fought by Sacajawea and all the others in their parts as they felt and consumed the great unknowns across the fabulous western frontier before our age when we suppose we already know everything there is to know in nature and what is out there in the far reaches.

This is an existential expression of the great west at sunrise. Live it with them, while they live.

[Editor’s note: please see this link for a previous review of this title – https://worldcomicbookreview.com/2019/11/01/manifest-destiny-volume-6-review-fortis-and-invisibilia/ ]