Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review: The Manhattan Projects Volume 1 Science. Bad.

What if the Manhattan project was much more than just about creating the Atom Bomb? What if we were not alone in the Universe? What if there were other dimensions?

In The Manhattan Projects Jonathan Hickman explores this premise and brings to life a new Universe that takes some historical figures and facts and presents them in a fresh new light with unpredictable twists and many disturbing characters.

This first volume might just be the start of a long and fruitful adventure.

How is it?

This is a hard book to review. There isn't much I can talk about without spoiling some of the many twists and turns Hickman throws at the reader. Lets start there, Hickman's approach to this theme is the best thing about this book. At first sight there might not be much interest in a bunch of scientists going about their daily affairs and struggling to get the A-Bomb going as soon as possible. However Hickman's imagination is working overtime and that produces some really odd situations and some very disturbing characters.

Welcome to the Projects
The Manhattan Projects Volume 1 is mostly about setup. Its all about getting to know the characters, their past, their main dysfunctions and the status of the Projects.

Who is Dr Oppenheimr? Whats so special about him and how will his duality impact the Manhattan Projects? Well, I won't spoil that, but he is, by far, the most interesting character in this first volume. He most definitely not what he appears to be.

And what about Einstein? E definitely not equals mc2 with this one. Once again Hickman plays the duality card. A completely different card, but the underlying tone stays the same.I was expecting a sweet old man with a massive intellect, but humble at his core. I was also expecting him to take center stage ( he is in the cover after all). Boy was I wrong.

Apart from the "meet the staff" stuff Hickman plants the seeds for many things to come. But this book isn't just about setup. In the last third of the story our Manhattan Projects scientists will get a encounter of the 3rd degree with a not so peaceful alien race. The result of this encounter makes the A-Bomb look like a footnote in the Projects achievements.

The only aspect I didn't enjoy was the art. It does get better by the last pages, but the first chapter or two its
Good, a Portal!
hard to enjoy. Luckily the writing more than makes up for the art shortcomings.


At first I was going to stay away from this book, but after reading so many good reviews about this book I had to take a look. I'm very glad I did. I'm completely sold on this one for the long haul, and can't help it but to recommend it to anyone that enjoys comics.

Publisher: Image Comics
Year: 2012
Pages: 144
Authors: Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra

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  1. O conceito é bom, mas não gostei muito da arte!
    Fui pesquisar um pouco e continuei a não gostar...

    1. Viva Nuno,

      Sim, a arte é de longe o pior do livro. Eu acho que vai melhorando ao longo do livro, mas nunca chega a razoável.

      Mas o argumento é mesmo muito bom.

  2. Very interesting observations about duality in Manhattan Projects.

    I must say the art didn't look so bad to me. I've seen so many other comics with really awful art, that I didn't really have any problems with this. Now, the covers, on the other hand, are so horrible. You take a look at those covers and the last thing you want to do is buy the comic.

    1. Hi Arion,

      Thanks :)

      The covers, not just this one but most Hickman book's covers, are dreadful. They're all in this minimalistic style that doesn't work for me.

      If it was not for reviews such as your own, I would't have bought this.

  3. Thanks Rui, great post. It also reminds that the second volume just came out and I should get my hands on it. There are so many cool ideas in this comic, it's a joy to read.

    I actually quite like the covers to Hickmans books, they stand out from everything else on the shelves and I think the minimalism works to make them stronger.


    1. Hi Joe,

      I've already ordered the second volume. I've been ensnared by this.

      The covers are indeed unique.