The strange is about to become bizarre as Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra give us their take on the nuclear bomb program, and who gave the order to drop it on the unsuspecting.

MANHATTAN PROJECTS #3
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Pitarra
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.50

Previously in The Manhattan Projects: The hidden history of Werner Von Braun was revealed, and he’s got a robot arm, too. What other roles did German scientists play in the Manhattan Projects? Beyond the dimension hopping and freaky dimensional attacks from other countries, one thing still remains – The Bomb needs to be developed.

THE BOMB

I spent a great deal of time in the late ‘80s studying the history of the Manhattan Project, and many of the scientists involved in the development of the atomic bomb, including the brilliant Richard Feynman, who seems to be the Everyman in this tale. Jonathan Hickman takes everything you thought you knew about the top secret government project, and continues to turn it on its ear, serving up a fascinating “What If…” tale that brings every conspiracy, and late night caller to Coast to Coast AM into question, as the series makes you ponder what is fact and what is fiction. Of course we know it is all fiction… right?

This issue finds The Bomb being developed and being deployed for the first time, but the story behind the building of the nuclear bombs, and who really gave the order to drop it is incredibly fascinating. Not only does Hickman portray Truman as a dopey high leader of the Masons, but President Roosevelt’s consciousness is transferred into the world’s first artificial intelligence. It’s a mind trip, wrapped in a riddle, stuffed into a burrito and microwaved on high for much longer than it should be.

And I loved every minute of it.

The tale is paced in such a way that the reader needs to just give into the story being told, and not question anything that is presented, because by the time the question pops into your head, Hickman is already laying the groundwork for the answer that appears later in the issue, or (hopefully) in the next. Each cast member is stranger than the one before, and I’m enjoying seeing Hickman’s take on well known names, every science nerd knows by heart.

LIKE MOEBIUS?

Pitarra’s art is very interesting. The attention to detail, both large and small, remind me a great deal of Moebius, even though I know it isn’t. I’ve mentioned many times before that I appreciate artists who spend just as much time on the characters as they do on the backgrounds, as it makes the world in the panel feel real, as one can see the thought and planning that went into the materials, and environment that make up the space.

The best example in this book is the panel where the Secret Service busts in on Truman’s Masonic ceremony. Each member of the organization has something to do, the river of blood wraps around the panel, and the eye follows it to the dead sheep. Then the eye is drawn to the multitude of agents running around, and each has a distinct action. That’s not something one sees in comics every day.

BOTTOM LINE: I WANT TO BE ON WHATEVER HICKMAN IS ON

Manhattan Projects has quickly turned into one of my favorite series, and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next, because no matter what crazy thing I can think up, Hickman has already thought up something that trumps it. Pitarra’s art has a European vibe that I really like in this story, and each panel gives me something interesting to look at before moving on. It isn’t too late to pick up the previous issues, and I’m giving Manhattan Projects #3 5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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2 Comments

  1. Kevin Kortekaas
    May 20, 2012 at 9:14 am — Reply

    100% agree, this comic is full of awesome, it’s not quite as good as Atomic Robo, but it’s dam close.

  2. Oldcomicfan
    May 20, 2012 at 9:37 am — Reply

    The odd thing is that I hate revisionist history – those who insist that Roosevelt suckered the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor so that American could get into the war and his war profiteering buddies could thus begin war profiteering; or that Elvis was the gunman on the grassy knoll in Deally Plaza; or that we didn’t really land on the moon but filmed the whole thing on a stage in Area 51; etc.; but, on the other hand, I am quite fond of Alternate History stories, where the writer changes one event and then imagines how history might have played out. History is frightening enough without having to throw Elvis, Space Aliens, and loopy conspiracies into the mix. Did you know that the first reactor was built under the stadium seats in the football field at the University of Chicago? I wonder how many people went to football games only to discover their nether regions glowing in the dark later? Even scarier, when they touched off the first bomb in the desert, the scientists weren’t entirely certain that a chain reaction wouldn’t consume the earth or that the blast might ignite the atmosphere! Yet they assumed the bomb didn’t have quite enough mass to do either of those things and touched it off anyway. Sort of reminds me of General Custer riding down Medicine Tail Coollee, thinking that 200 troopers could defeat 6,000 warriors just because he is so special. Why go around making up silly stuff like Roosevelt AI bots and Demonic Masonic Harry Trumans? Real life is goofy enough. Still and all, if I happen to see this in a comic book store – if I ever again find myself in the vicinity of one – I might pick it up on your recommendation.

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