Manifest Destiny Vol. 1: Flora & Fauna
Chris Dingess, writer; Matthew Roberts, penciller & inker; Owen Gieni, colorist
Image Comics, 2014

Just now catching up with this alternate history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The public aspect of the mission--as Lewis describes it in the journal that acts as periodic narrator--is the one history ascribes to it. President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the mission of exploration after the Louisiana Purchase, to survey the new lands, establish an American presence before other nations could claim it, and study the plant and animal life (as well as establish trade with the Indian tribes). But this version establishes the real, secret mission as destroying monsters and clearing the way for expansion of the United States.

As the story begins, the expedition has discovered no monsters, and Lewis is questioning the President's gullibility or sanity. But then they encounter a huge arch, one which seems impossible to have a human source, savage or not. Then they are attacked by a buffalo-man, which Lewis decides to describe as a Minotaur for simplicity. On the run from a group of the creatures, the corps takes refuge in their location, the fort La Charette. They find it deserted, but are confronted by a group of plant-people. After hearing the story of how the fort was decimated by the plant plague, they meet the Indian scout Sacajawea, who they had planned to rendezvous with at the fort. They meet and destroy the plant god behind the infestation.

So things are plenty monstrous. I can only imagine what might greet the expedition as they go deeper into the unknown American West, and am looking forward to finding out.

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I read the first volume and enjoyed it enough to buy all of the other volumes, which are in my to-be-read pile. I like it, but there are so many other things getting my attention.

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