The Eisners X Image Finale: The Manhattan Projects

The Manhattan Projects Volume 1

15736709Johnathan Hickman/Nick Pitarra/Rachelle Rosenberg

Image $9.99

OH CRAP, I NEVER FINISHED THIS THING UP!

Truth be told, the reason why the final was delayed (aside from “life” happening) was because originally I was going to attempt to write about East of West. The problem with that plan is that I’ve re-read volume 1 of said comic like twice and I couldn’t even begin to tell you  what happened there as from “Wild West Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. That’s kinda hard to stretch into 500 words y’all.

64cc8f7583f840a85f0a9306d11aa13f It’s not that Johnathan Hickman writes incoherent comics. Oh no, it’s more like the fact that A) I’m an idiot B) Hickman’s a big picture guy C) Sometimes I don’t get the big picture until the entire thing is available to read and then I can Google the things I don’t understand. But despite Hickman usually painting with broads strokes, I totally dig his OTHER award nominated Image book, The Manhattan Projects, with art by the mega-talented duo of . It’s an alternative history book where the Manhattan Project isn’t just to build an atomic weapon to end World War II. Instead, some of the brightest minds in SCIENCE ™ are brought together by the US government to do all sorts of weird science things, like create A.I. based on dead president, or talk to aliens. One would think this would be awesome, but actually it’s quite terrifying, because some of these famous scientists are EVIL BASTARDS…which admittedly is awesome in it’s own way! “But how Chris, that makes no sense!” you may ask, which is weird, because this is an article and I cannot respond in real time. SO I GUESS YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO READ THE BOOK AND FIND OUT.

The-Manhattan-Projects_vol1_panel2And those answers by the way are insane. Hickman and Pitarra throw many a curve ball when it comes to the plot, especially when it comes to the origins and lives to such important historical figures like Einstein, Oppenheimer, FDR and Truman. In less capable hands, these twists would look offensive and hacky, but these creators certainly make it work. Some of the really, far out and violent (spoilers, this book is hella violent) are played for laughs, because it’s so insane, which is why this book is so compelling.

Also by far out, I MEAN far out. Since this is alternate history, there’s Japanese Psychic Warriors Monks, Aliens, Robots, Alternate Dimensions, Evil Twins, all that good stuff. I’m just scratching the surface.

The-Manhattan-Projects_vol1_panelI’ve also waited entirely too long to talk about the art. This is my first time being exposed to Nick Pitarra‘s art, and it’s like the 2nd coming of Geoff Darrow. Pitarra’s characters are pretty, but then again they shouldn’t be. They’re a bunch of middle age white dudes doing science and secretly plotting against each others. It’s a really unique art style that’s beautiful as is it ugly. And it’s crazy detailed, hence the Darrow comparison, craming the panels with an insane amount of content. And Jordie Belaire‘s colors are super slick, especially when it comes to some of the tech, special effects and the use of red and blue for flash backs.

manhattan_projects_1000Much like East of West, The Manhattan Projects is the type of book that expects more from the reader and actually changes you a bit. It’s just a little easier to get into than some of Hickman’s other creator owned work. But it’s a hilarious,  violent and clever read, worth the praise it’s earn. Image has been promoting itself as one of the more innovative comic companies of the last decade, and it’s books like TMP that back that claim up.

 

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