Manhattan Projects #1


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Manhattan Projects #1


  • Words: Jonathan Hichman
  • Art: Nick Pitarra
  • Colors: Cris Peter
  • Story Title: Infinite Oppenheimers
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Mar 7, 2012

Robert Oppenheimer enters a brand new version of The Manhattan Project.

If there is one new title every reader needs to pick up this week, it must be Manhattan Projects #1 from Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra, the creative team behind last year’s The Red WingManhattan Projects is exactly what one would expect from Hickman’s unrestricted mind as he tackles theoretical science, alternate histories, and thematic dualities.  Chronicling the real-life brilliance of Robert Oppenheimer, leading physicist behind the Manhattan Project and the first atomic bomb, Hickman establishes his alternate world then completely turns it all on its head and redefines the series with an amazing cliffhanger. 

In Hickman’s top-secret new universe, the atomic bomb development our world knows is a mere front for The Manhattan Projects’ more lucrative and bizarre research.  Once Oppenheimer builds man's greatest terror in his universe, he will be granted unbridled access to any scientific territory he finds fascinating and worthy, including mythological archaeology that recovers imaginary weapons made real, or groundbreaking computer science that hopes to create functioning and imaginative artificial intelligence.  Not all of history is changed by Hickman’s unfiltered and grand ideas run wild across the page, however.  The Manhattan Projects continue to serve the United States during wartime, though the brilliant minds of Japan’s greatest “Death-Buddhists” wreak a bizarre sort of havoc unseen by our ancestor’s eyes.  Though Hickman clearly intends to ground Manhattans Projects in the science fiction realm, the most interesting and layered aspect of his new title is his take on Oppenheimer’s untold familial history, and the impact it had on his mind and will have on his research.  Hickman’s take on Oppenheimer’s history is almost completely altered from his studious history in our universe, as the writer recounts the untold story of the scientist’s childhood to college professor, and just how profound of an impact Oppenheimer will have on this new world.

As fans of The Red Wing and its creative team are sure to recall, Nick Pitarra captures the unbridled craziness of Hickman’s story incredibly well, though in the pages of Manhattan Projects Pitarra has the chance to truly go wild.  Pitarra’s character designs naturally look great, often drawn with a certain Frank Quitely flair, but his true strength is bringing to life the vastness and bizarreness of Oppenheimer’s new facility.  The underground station is packed with countless scientists, each working on their own projects in humongous rooms filled to the brim with artifacts or hundreds of thousands of mainframes.  In a much different scene, one of the world’s most famous scientists finds himself trapped in solitude, and is sure to surprise and tease readers with his future prospects in the series. 

Turning away from America’s research, the deadly Japanese psychic attack allows Pitarra to let loose in a bloody and violent action scene, as hundreds of mechanized samurai do battle with Oppenheimer and a high-caliber machine gun.  Even more than his work in The Red Wing, Pitarra is not only building Hickman’s strange world beautifully, but captures the excitement and energy in such a clear and gorgeous way.

Manhattan Projects, from the creative team behind last year’s The Red Wing, finds the two creators exploring the strangest and most thrilling ideas possible.  Unbridled science meets alternate history as Jonathan Hickman goes wild and Nick Pitarra lets loose.  Oppenheimer already is a fascinating and well established character, though knowing Hickman’s history and style, that is sure to change.  Manhattan Projects is the most exciting new prospect to come along in months, and is a must-own for almost any reader.

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  • Jason Wilkins

    Jason Wilkins Mar 11, 2012 at 11:59pm

    This was a freaking cool read! Great review Jason!

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