REVIEW: Manhattan Projects #3

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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: ★★★★★