Skybound/Image Comics 2014
Written by Chris Dingess
Penciled by Matthew Roberts
Inked by Stefano Gaudiano & Tony Akins
Coloured by Owen Gieni
Still one of the best finds i’ve experienced in a very long time, we’re talking decades. The originality of this story and the creativity in bringing it to life time after time captures my imagination and continues to thrill with each outing. Just the sheer fact that Lewis and Clark are traversing the great expanse of the American continent where they encounter creatures that would normally only exist inside of your nightmares make this the kind of alternate history story as unique as they come.
So last issue we met Dawhogg a Fezron, basically a race of huge blue talking birds and this issue we meet their chieftain who seems to be wearing American Indian style garb basting the scout in some form of butter preparing him for a the main course of a feast. While this isn’t the first time they are facing the death of one of their own it’s definitely the first time that they’ve come across an intelligent species. The Ferzon speak and have nice language skills and their own sense of honour and tradition so what happens here is fascinating really.
So does Dawhogg have a place in their society worthy enough to exchange prisoners well you’ll have to read the story to find out. Let’s just say that thanks to Captain Meriwether Lewis and his quick thinking and talking it would appear that if a deal is completed the two species could form something of an alliance that each benefits from. Chris’ characterization and dialogue is really just incredibly strong the story advancement, plot twists and turns are expertly done and the whole way through the issue you just marvel at the events that unfold before you.
Sacagawea is having her own troubles while the boys are away. She’s burning up with fever and least we forget she’s pregnant so it’s really kind of a critical time for her right now. She’s still this headstrong woman who wants to do her own thing though and that stubborn streak doesn’t make ministering to her any easier. Getting a look into her past and what her grandfather has tasked her with and the coming of the white man and what that is supposed to bring. Finally seeing something of the sacrifice she’s had to endure goes a long way in defining her as a person and it’s about time we got more of that!
Could Sacagawea’s grandfather's vision quest resulted in exactly what’s transpiring right now? It would certainly seem that way and where do the Ferzon come from and how did they get here? With this species living in North America what does that mean for the expansion of a nation? So many fantastic questions intended to make the reader think in ways that are surprising and almost as much so as the questions that will inevitably come. This is the kind of world you WANT to visit and Chris has made fascinating, beautiful and deadly in so many ways that it remains that place you want to be month and month out.
Matthew lays the groundwork on the interiors and then Stefano and Tony take it to where Owen can masterfully apply the colouring to really bring imagination to life. The Fezron for instance seem cute and nice, like muppets, but having seen what they can do they are a deadly addition to vast expanse of the unknown. The human characters, the uniforms or clothing have that wild west look and feel to it that firmly roots it in the era it’s meant to take place. There’s so much emotion, mood setting and this vibrant life to the work they bring that it really takes this book that upper echelon level of greatness.