There are a few standards in contemporary pop culture and comics that cannot be overlooked. One, Marvel Studios is easily dominating the industry of comic-inspired films. And two, whenever a publisher is in need of a writer to craft a genre-bending book, Johnathan Hickman is on immediate stand-by.
With notable titles such as Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates, Fantastic Four and FF under his weighty belt, Jonathan Hickman has established himself as a premier talent in contemporary comics, which has even landed him on more than one book in the recent Marvel Now launch. And along with his ability to drum up mind-bending stories, which frequently cross into richly detailed science fiction plots that test the mantle of all readers, Hickman has revived numerous Marvel titles that have been lagging in recent years.
This ability to craft rich, expansive stories has recently translated into one of Hickman’s most notable and fun books on the shelves, “The Manhattan Projects.” Centered on the historic research and development program by the United States, “The Manhattan Projects” retell an alternative historic depiction of America’s race toward the first atom bomb, with notable scientist and historical figures like Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman playing major roles. At first glance, this story might seem too improbable to work out, yet Hickman does an exquisite job at crafting a story with enough complexity and off-the-wall tales that it pulls the reader into a whole new world.
In “The Manhattan Projects #7,” Hickman does not let off the pedal on a quickly moving story that grows and expands to new heights in each book. Following off an intense stand-off with a hostile band of extraterrestrials, who are attracted to Earth due to the activation of a space/time portal created by Einstein, the American scientists of The Manhattan Project have been weighing their options and obligations in the wake of discovery that there are worse threats than the relics of Nazi Germany or the rise of the Soviets’ hammer and sickle. And with the ability to travel across time and space, these noble men of science, which include dystopian versions of a psychotic Joseph Oppenheimer and a radioactive Harry Daghlian, must weigh their obligations to the world and those who occupy it across all borders.
Mainly following a lengthy conversation between Wernher Von Braun, General Groves and Oppenheimer of the Manhattan Projects and Minister Ustinov and Helmutt Grottrup of the Soviet Union, issue #7 of “The Manhattan Projects” had few action panels to cheer about, though the future plots and plan laid out in this informative title appear fun, complex and crazy enough to peak any follower of this imaginative book.
Opening the story with a tense meeting was a slow start for issue #7, though each proceeding event and panel quickly begins to heat up as Wernher unveils that The Manhattan Projects had discovered Ustinov’s Star City – a highly-advanced, inter-dimensional city that is being built in secret by alien technology discovered at the Tunguska incident. Wernher and Groves further divulge that the alien technology discovered by both their nations – The United Stated and Soviet Union – is actually their only defense from the hostile intelligent beings living in the Milky Way. And since the best defense is a strong offense, both men proposition Ustinov to swear off both nations in the lofty hopes of striking it out on their own to protect Earth from all threats.
Newcomers to this title who are scratching their head, wondering how in the world such a complex and imaginative can story play on actual historic events, worry not. With only seven issues on the shelves, this story is still in its infancy and it’s actually quite easy to read through and engage, though you might have to do some research trying to find out which character were actually members of the Manhattan Projects.
And for those who are wondering if this is a good book to pick up and dive into, one would have to say maybe, possibly. The art and story in “The Manhattan Projects issues #7” paint a mind-altering vision of real, actual historic figures, with all of their flaws and a few new problems. Though, with little explanation of previous events and even less information or introduction to each new face, this over-the-top comic would be a challenging book to tackle, especially if you haven’t read a previous book.
But if you want to dive into mystery and intrigue, issue #7 of “The Manhattan Projects” would be a fun reprieve from the cape-filled books occupying the shelves.
“Image Comics.” Image Comics. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <www.imagecomics.com/>.
Sims, Chris. “Jonathan Hickman And The Mad Science Of ‘The Manhattan Projects’ [Interview].” Comics Alliance. AOL, 13 Sept. 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <www.comicsalliance.com/2012/09/13/jonathan-hickman-and-the-mad-sc….