Filed under: Comic Reviews, Image Comics | Tags: Cris Peter, image, Jonathan Hickman, Manhattan Projects, Nick Pitarra, Rus Wooton
A Couple of months a made a lot of noise about cutting my DC pull list back because I was spending too much money on substandard comics and sacrificing other more interesting books. As a result of reading through previews for March 2012, with so many good books on the horizon, it was time to make some tough decisions: getting rid of heroes I was reading just because their name started with Super. Well March is here and so begins the start of some promising books – starting this week with The Manhattan Projects from Image.
There was one simple aspect that drew me towards this book – my curiosity for conspiracy theories. I love anything that’s got a secret Government project working on the unimaginable with technology from aliens or the future. It might have been done time and time again in the world of film, TV and comics, but I feel it’s an area that can always come up with something original – after all it works off of the imagination and thoughts that the Government could be doing ANYTHING and we don’t know about it.
Written by Jonathan Hickman, art by Nick Pitarra, colours by Cris Peter and Rus Wooton on letters, The Manhattan Projects places us behind the one way mirrors of the 1940’s US Government with the premise that those research and development departments that are supposed to be creating an atomic bomb are doing much more than just that. As way of introduction to the insane experiments going on behind closed doors, we follow Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, world renowned scientist and twin, as he is welcomed into the research department. It’s not long into the tour of the facility before there’s an unexpected attack by Japanese kamikaze robots spilling out of a portal from Japan – that’s the kind of crazy shit that’s going on here.
Like Watchmen, this book acts as a “What if?” type tale, using real people and events to tell it’s story, but with minor changes – for example Dr. Oppenheimer may have worked on the atomic bomb in real life, but he didn’t have a twin (or did he?!). Why this works so well in TMP though is that even though it’s supposed to be an alternate 1940s, the subject matter is just the kind of thing that could be happening behind the scenes and covered up. This could be a true story for all we know! (Note – it probably isn’t.)
The storytelling is exceptional throughout – the book does well at balancing our introduction to the Manhattan Project facility alongside the history of Dr Oppenheimer and his twisted twin brother. The twin story works really well, cleverly mirroring top and bottom panels for each twin, shaded blue for the calm and genius mind of scientist Robert, and red for the mentally unstable Joseph. The book leaves you desperate for more – there’s a world of possibilities here in terms of story, and the characters we’ve been introduced to will make the journey all the more interesting (especially finding out more about a certain scientific cameo that pops up during issue #1).
I can’t find anything exceptionally good or bad to say on the artwork front – it works well with the book, adopting a bit of a “Quitely crinkle” style. There was one page I was quite taken with during the kamikaze robot sequence, where a splash page of the unfolding carnage turned into almost a Where’s Wally (Waldo for the yanks) page filled with a mixture of robots, soldiers, scientists and plenty of blood.
Once again it’s another original and interesting book from Image, a publisher that there doesn’t seem to be any stopping these days. I know that many of the books due out from Image are the reason I decided to cut out some of my DC picks, so I’m glad to see that they’re already living up to my expectations – keep them coming!
Also – it’s worthwhile pointing out that Hickman has another Image book out next month, Secret, which I’ll also be looking forward to. Make sure and get your pre-orders in for that one too.
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