Overview

Image Month: Manhattan Projects #2

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Image Month: Manhattan Projects #2

Credits

  • Words: Jonathan Hickman
  • Art: Nick Pitarra
  • Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
  • Story Title: Rocket Man
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Apr 18, 2012

“Never Forget.  We owe the future to the Fascists.”

Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra take the already vast scope of Manhattan Projects and blast it wide open with a massive sci-fi detonation that pushes the title into a much more intricate and complex direction.  With issue #2, aptly titled Rocket Man, Hickman introduces an exploding cast of scientists that call the Manhattan Projects home, along with their less optimistic counterparts in Nazi Germany.  Rocket Man takes the series in an unexpected direction, one that proves to be much more engrossing, interesting, and layered than predicted.

While Robert Oppenheimer carried the weight of Manhattan Projects #1, a much younger and idealistic genius takes center stage in its follow-up.  The confident brilliance of Richard Feynman (an actual contributor to the Manhattan Project) not only serves as the polar opposite of the malevolent Oppenheimer, but an idealistic counterpart to the rescued Nazi rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun.  The individual character interactions between Oppenheimer-Feynman and later Braun-Feynman contextualize the scientific exploration taking place on both sides of the Atlantic, while also offering several great opportunities to enter the minds of these geniuses. 

As much as Feynman’s pieces bear the heavy-lifting of the story, the surprising inclusion of the world’s most famous scientist, a certain Albert Einstein, offers the best character exchanges throughout the issue.  Issue #1 merely teased Einstein’s presence in Manhattan Projects. His saddened face made an all too brief cameo as Oppenheimer toured the halls of the MP facility.  The circumstances behind Einstein’s imprisonment have yet to be revealed, but it is clear that the confines of his room have taken a large toll on his mind.  Behind the brilliance of Einstein is a bitter man who is unafraid to lash out at the Axis Powers.  With the numerous new characters introduced in issue #2, Albert Einstein’s reserved yet sharp tone stands out as the most exciting to explore.

Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra continue to dominate Image Comics as the pair releases arguably one of the best titles in the publisher’s catalogue.  Manhattan Projects' hybrid focus of mad science and alternate history is a deep gold mine just waiting to be plundered by the two creators.  With issue #2, Hickman changes focus from the maniacal Robert Oppenheimer to the visionary Richard Feynman, a welcome addition to Manhattan Projects that evolves the story much quicker than expected.

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