While the previous volume offered up some satisfyingly tense action, via a hallucinogenic fog that brought back a lot of familiar faces, it left the main story spinning its wheels. That’s less of a problem here as the men and women of the Expeditionary Corps settle in for a long winter after rebuilding their fort. It should be a nice, quiet winter now that they know how to counter the fog’s effects with their biggest worry coming from figuring out how to deal with boredom, right? Well, that and averting the threat of mutiny. A good portion of the Expeditionary Corps are having serious misgivings about what they signed up for, and that leaves them very susceptible to the fire-and-brimstone preachings of Sgt. Pryor who has his own ideas about how things should be run around here. Add in the fact that Lewis has been alienating himself from everyone with his solitary vigil near the invisible arch, and one crew member’s justified score settling and tensions are set to boil over any day now. Especially with that ghostly conquistador whispering in everyone’s ears while all this is going on.
If that sounds like a lot to take in for this volume, writer Chris Dingess makes it all go down smoothly. While the first few issues are told from multiple points of view, that just allows the reader to get a better handle on where the characters are coming from here. Also, after the events of the previous five volumes I’d have been surprised if there wasn’t a mutiny at some point. That turns out to be one of the more fun storytelling decisions in the series to date as it doesn’t play out quite the way I was expecting. Lewis has a plan, you see. The volume’s main failing is that the main storyline is only advanced incrementally here. That’s an improvement over the previous volume, and the revelation as to why Sacagawea’s baby is needed was quite welcome while the manipulations of the conquistador were quite interesting to behold as well. Still, I’d like to see more progress with the mystery behind the arches as the series has to be close to hitting the home stretch after six volumes.