If you see the word “Lepus” in the title and are thinking that this volume is going to involve some form of monstrous rabbit, then you’d be right! The question then becomes which part of the volume will revolve around the threat of a rabbit. Will it feature into the opening chapter, which is about a giant skinless gopher and its brood? Or the group of female survivors that the Corps of Discovery comes across? Or maybe it’ll appear in the snapshot of the threats the Corps comes across as they decide to prioritize survival over reprisal? Or will it be a factor in the growing threat posed by Maldonado, the conquistador ghost who is trying his damndest to poison Lewis and Clark against each other. They both know they’ve got a devil whispering in their ear, but can they hold out forever when they think they’re the only one being whispered to?
I can promise you’ll get a satisfying answer to that last question in this volume. It’s easily the high point of what feels like the penultimate installment of this series. I have to wonder whether or not that’s by design since it feels like writer Chris Dingess and artist Matthew Roberts have to rush through a lot of stuff to get the story to that point. At first it feels good to get more than one monster story in this volume. The problem is that by the end of it, the story has already undergone one major shift in the status quo, before promptly diving into another on the final page. That last shift feels like a real “point of no return” for the story, even though it was given precious little buildup before it hit. It gives vol. 8 a clear shot to wrap everything up, which I hope it takes because I’m not feeling the possibilities or the potential for extending this series further than that.