Skybound/Image Comics 2014
Created & Written by Chris Dingess
Penciled by Matthew Roberts
Inked by Stefano Gaudino & Tony Akins
Coloured by Owen Gieni
I can’t rave enough about this series. That Chris had the wherewithal to create a world that is explored by Lewis & Clark and mix it with such supernatural creatures thus giving Alternate History a new meaning has been brilliant from the start. Sure we see them going across the vast unexplored wilderness that is the American Frontier and yes we see Sacajawea but it’s the imagination of these guys that have kept us coming back time and again to see how things keep unfolding.
Last issue Collins went with the bearbird up the arch of shit to kill the beast that terrorizes this area. This issue we open with a little rundown of Collin’s life and what led up to him being with this exploration. You can’t help but like the kid after seeing how tough he’s had it and that he’s so eager to help and give it his all, to fit in and be accepted. The characterization from Chris is stellar stuff and honestly it’s why when I finally did find this series i’ve made it a point to try to expose it to as many people as I possibly can.
I do like seeing the difference in Lewis and Clark as they discuss this situation and that Lewis has a practical head on his shoulders wanting to come up with an alternative plan should the one they’ve enacted not succeed. Actually the way these two play off each other personality wise really is brilliant writing. On one hand it almost makes me want to see them be true lovers dedicated to one another for all time and on the other hand it’s this connection they currently have that makes them as successful as they are so why mess with it?
I love seeing Sacajawea and her predicament. She’s pregnant and has a full on massive fever and sickness. Living in the world we do it’s easy to forget that in this era modern medicine was so archaic and that it really was more cases of ride it out and survive, make the patient comfortable and hope for the best than take two aspirin and call in the morning. We’ve gotten so really good intense moments and background as her fevered mind shows us scenes of her childhood and giving us even more clarity as to why she left her people.
Now as for the creature they hunt there are plenty of clues as to what it is but you’ll have to read the story to truly understand just how brilliant including it here is. What they call the Vameter leaves the dung pile once a moon and feeds. When they do finally find it and Corporal Sheets well Clark’s faith in the boy and what he’s capable of comes to fruition. Now this Vameter will be known to many of you but to spoil that would unmentionable so suffice to say that you’ll be thrilled, surprised and applaud Chris in his decision to include it and then they way he makes it tie into what has been established elsewhere well will give you a new appreciation for his talents as a writer.
Matthew continues to grow as an artist, and he was already damn good to begin with. Seeing what he can do to guide the team to bringing his creations to life is amazing. The ferocity and terror of some of these creatures we encounter are brilliantly portrayed and getting a chance to really use his imagination to expand our own makes him a force to be reckoned with within the industry.
Action/Adventure stories infused with fantastic/horrific creatures can’t possibly exist make this alternative history story more fun than you could ever imagine on your own.