Archive for Manifest Destiny

Chained Coffin


Coffin Hill #3

Something dark and dreadful is in the woods near where Eve Coffin grew up. Seeking answers, she goes home and confronts her mother, who, like Eve, is a powerful witch. Eve also visits the local insane asylum to visit an old friend who got driven mad by Eve’s black magic. And it turns out the doctor running the asylum may not be entirely stable himself. Is Eve ever going to get to the bottom of this case — or just to the bottom of a shallow grave?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s spooky and weird and occasionally actually unnerving. I’m still having fun with it. And Eve’s weird cracked blackened eye may be a big part of the fun…


Manifest Destiny #2

The Lewis and Clark expedition has run into a serious snag — they’ve managed to kill a gigantic bison centaur that attacked them, and the crew is understandably freaked out about that — especially when the autopsy reveals that it’s a juvenile. And things get weirder when they see a woman throw herself off a cliff — and then her body disappears. And then a herd of the bison centaurs attacks. Most of the crew manage to get safely into a nearby fort — which is mysteriously deserted. It is deserted, isn’t it? Mmmmaybe not…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s very weird, yes, but what really drives the story forward is a huge amount of paranoid tension. The expedition is in an untamed wilderness, possibly surrounded on all sides by hostile monsters — and even when they make it to safety, we still expect something horrible to spring out and attack. So far, it’s wonderful daylight horror.


Lazarus #5

We get a quick look at Forever Carlyle’s less-than-ideal childhood, mostly devoid of love or affection and devoted to combat training. Back in the present, Forever tries to track her renegade brother, runs into some nogoodniks on the border of the family’s territory, and gets shot in the back by the nogoodniks. Of course, Forever is extremely hard to kill, and she manages to throw enough fear into the nogoodniks to get them to execute the guy who shot her. But a lot of the drama in this issue focuses on a small family of Waste — the bulk of the population with few resources and no benefits from contact with or service to the Family. The Barretts live in Montana and are facing a catastrophic flood. Can they get the Family to provide them any assistance or are they, like the rest of the Waste, just hopelessly out of luck?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The whole thing has a really strong focus on just how crappy this world is for everyone in it. Forever is loved by no one, the nogoodniks can’t even rely on each other, and while the Barretts may be better off than some of the Waste, they ultimately have no support and no defense against tragedy. It’s a thoroughly brutal comic, and I reckon it deserves to win all kinds of awards.


Day Men #2

Five months between Issue #1 and Issue #2? Bad form, Matt Gagnon, Michael Alan Nelson, and Brian Stelfreeze.

David Reid is a normal human who works for the Virgos, a family of vampire mobsters, taking care of the tasks that need to be done during the day. The Virgos are at war with the rival vampire clan called the Ramses. David is very good at his job, but the Ramses are uncommonly ruthless, and their day man, Jacob the Burner, is the best in the business. Can David save a member of the Virgo clan when the Burner sets his fiery sights on her?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice story, great art, excellent drama and action. But the next issues better show up in a much more timely fashion, or people are gonna start to lose interest.

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Arch of Destiny


Manifest Destiny #1

What we’ve got here is a revision of the story of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the explorers who explored the Western United States for President Jefferson. While the real-life Lewis and Clark mapped the Louisiana Purchase, laid claim to new territories, and traveled all the way to the Pacific Ocean, this version of Lewis and Clark have a secret agenda. Their expedition consists of Army volunteers and pardoned convicts, none of them aware that Jefferson has asked their leaders to look for monsters to kill. Monsters? Is President Jefferson crazy? There’s no such thing as monsters, right? Well, it wouldn’t be much of a story if there weren’t any, would it?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I had no real plans to pick this one up, but the preview dragged me in with just this one image:


Yeah, it’s the Gateway Arch, over 150 years early and made out of plants. Kinda had to see what the big deal was after that.

Characterization is very nice — Lewis is the artistic intellectual, Clark the officious military man, and Jensen, one of the convicts, is devious and much smarter than he lets on. The action, when it finally makes it into the comic, is outstanding, and the mystery is wonderfully intriguing. Hopefully, future issues will deliver on what this one promises.


Coffin Hill #2

Eve Coffin, disgraced witch and disgraced cop, has returned to her family’s mansion, hoping to atone for her too-casual use of black magic when she was a girl. Back then, her magic caused one friend to go mad and another to vanish mysteriously — and her kinda-sorta boyfriend, who skipped out on the fateful ritual, has now become a police officer, too. Eve wants to help find some kids who’ve gone missing in the woods, using her police instincts and her knowledge of black magic. Can Eve track down the clues she needs? Or is the malign force hiding in the forest going to claim her, too?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A lot of great mood going on in this one. And I really like the one-black-eye look that Eve is rocking.


Watson and Holmes #5

Holmes and Watson are investigating a rash of cases where abandoned babies have been found in dumpsters. Most have survived — there’s been only one death. Soon, they manage to track down the mother of the dead baby, and she tells them that her doctor had taken the kid for adoption, but soon suspected her of being dishonest. The police arrest the doctor — only to learn that it’s the wrong doctor! Who’s been masquerading as a doctor and stealing babies? And why does the press want to protect the baby thief?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a great, self-contained mystery with another batch of excellent characters. Not a lot of action in this one — but listen, if you need action in all your mysteries, you’re doin’ mysteries wrong. Mysteries are cerebral, man.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Unfortunately, it may be time to take Brian Wood off the list of comics creators who are worth reading, because this story is about a guy who is absolute scum.
  • Allie Brosh reads from her new book and does a Q&A session. This is hilarious, at least partly because she keeps cracking herself up with her own story.
  • This is a much cooler tradition than “The Elf on the Shelf.”
  • Steve Jackson — of Steve Jackson Games — writes about getting flooded out of his home.
  • Apparently, the Washington Times is absolutely scared out of its wits by comic books.

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