I had thought this would be a more lurid vision of the Lewis and Clark expedition along the Missouri. But once they see a “St. Louis Arch” made not by the pen of Eero Saarinen and instead by some otherworldly monster, I was hooked. Clearly, we had delved into the realm of “Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies” alternate universe fiction. And what greater material could be found than from a source like the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This first volume collects the first 6 issues of the comic.
Story: Lewis and Clark are outfitted with a mission to explore the Missouri and catalog/explore, paying special attention to monsters they may find. They were given a crew of soldiers and criminals – none of whom have any ties or relatives. On the way to La Charrette to meet up with a French trapper and his Indian wife, Sacagawea, what they encounter will horrify. But just as dangerous are the criminal crew members as well.
This is an interesting story with a lot of hints of things to come. Ostensibly, this arc is about the first part of the expedition’s journey, a stop at La Charrette to meet up with Charbonneau and Sacagawea. But it soon becomes obvious that Sacagawea’s value to the US is not for her translation skills but because of the half blood child she will bear. As well, when searching the inside of their boat, things like wooden stakes make it obvious Lewis and Clark are expected to encounter all manner of monsters. Early on, the crew figures out that their lack of family ties in civilization means they are very expendable and not expected to survive the journey.
The artwork is clean and crisp and the authors have done their homework. The looks and personalities of Lewis and Clark (as well as nearly everyone except Sacagawea) feel very historically accurate. Even the village of La Charrette was a nod to the village visited by the expedition in history. The greatest liberties were taken with Sacagawea, who saves the crew several times and is shown to be a fearless warrior (rather than a mother with infant).
I am looking forward to the next volume and hope the authors continue to stay close to the historical aspects of the trip, just cleverly tweaking them into a great story as with this first volume.
Reviewed from an ARC.