People love a good conspiracy, so one wrapped around the team tasked with developing the first atomic bomb should spark the interest of hippies and men in dark rooms alike.
Previously, in The Manhattan Projects: There is no previously being that this is a first issue, so welcome to the beginning. A quick overview of the synopsis should suffice though: the department tasked to develop the first atomic bomb is actually a front for more unusual projects. And with that, here we go!
THIS WOULD’VE MADE HISTORY CLASS BETTER
Opening up to page one we are given a quote, presumably from Dr. Richard Feynman, which reeks of foreboding badness. Two more times in the issue Feynman quotes appear, and it also seems that he is giving narration during certain sequences leading me to believe this story is retroactively being told from his point of view. And if that is true, boy can he tell a compelling story.
This issue revolves around Dr. Robert Oppennheimer’s agreement to join Project Manhattan and finding out what the team actually does. On the tour we are shown what alternate projects are being worked on including: mining pan-dimensional space, discovering mythological artifacts, artificial intelligence, and Einstein, alone, starring at a large block. Now, Oppenheimer does have to build the first atom bomb, but once that is done he is free to join his colleagues in studying in any area he chooses.
From that point on is when the crazy happens. Everything that takes place is so fantastic, mind blowing, and surprise worthy that I would hate myself if I spoiled it for you. However, I will tease you with one actiony part. Suffice it to say Japanese Death Buddhists deliver killer machines designed by Soichiro Honda. Pretty awesome right? Well just wait till you read the last three pages.
Nick Pitarra and Cris Peter are the artist and colorist, respectively, for The Manhattan Projects and gee whiz do they work well together. Pitarra’s art throughout is great; his distant shots of characters lose some detail, but that is generally expected and is made up for during tight shots. When you start looking at the coloring you really get a sense that this team is not just trying to entertain with bright lights but giving you an experience based around story telling. This idea comes to head during the sequences highlighting the good and evil with panels being colored in blues and reds. Possibly an obvious idea, but it was executed so well it added to the story.
BOTTOM LINE:BOTTOM LINE: IT’S GOING PLACES
I was never entirely sure what was going to happen in this first issue; with the premise of alternate programs surrounding the creation of the atom bomb, the door seemed open wide with possibilities. Every part of this book, words, coloring, page layouts, Feynman’s quotes, is crafted so that the story is king. The Manhattan Projects #1 is a very well done first issue that promises to shoot off big, and that is why I’m giving it 5 out of 5 stars.