The Manhattan Projects
Story by Jonathan Hickman and Art by Nick Pitarra
I’m a history buff, plain and simple. When you pair that with the amazing story telling of Jonathan Hickman (of Red Wing, FF, and S.H.I.E.L.D fame), you get a gripping take on the Manhattan Project. The fine text on the cover lays the pretense of the comic out in front of you:
What if the research and development department created to produce the first atomic bomb was a front
for a series of other, more unusual programs? What if the union of a generation’s brightest minds was not
a signal for optimism, but of foreboding? What if everything…went wrong?
Gives ya chills, don’t it? This tale begins in 1942 with a conversation between gruff General Groves and thin Doctor Oppenheimer. They discuss that their arrangement would concern the more important issues of war and would benefit the greater good, no matter who was in charge…”the show must go on” so to speak. We’re given a passing glance at the conception of Doctor Oppenheimer and his twin brother before the story continues with General Groves stating the Manhattan Project will operate under the pretense of building and deploying the first atomic bomb while working on much more interesting things, including imaginary weapons created through scientific exploration and creating artificial intelligence. As the General is showing the Doctor all of these works in progress, the Doctor notices a room with a man locked inside of it, one Albert Einstein. As a proximity alarm distracts them both, we’re treated to another flashback of the twin Oppenheimers as they grew into adults, both excelling at different interests: Robert being an outstanding intellectual citizen and Joseph being an outstanding intellectual killer. Of course once we have this interesting tidbit dangled in front of us, Hickman deftly turns our attention to an attack on the War Department by the Japanese. Groves is not surprised as they’ve launched several supernatural attempts to thwart any advances on the atomic bomb; this latest siege is a legion of Kamikaze Killing Machines that are dispatched quickly by Doctor Oppenheimer behind a gatling gun. The general goes to retrieve the doctor and is amused at the display of hostility the doctor has toward a wayward KKM arm touching him. Luckily this violent outburst leads into our last taste of the twins. Robert Oppenheimer continues to excel and is ecstatic to receive an invitation to join the Manhattan Projects. Mere days pass and he’s informed his psychotic brother Joseph has escaped from his mental institution and drowned. Overcome with grief, Robert is taken unawares by Joseph and is consumed by him in every way. I won’t ruin the last page for you but it’s one of those mind fucks that leave you kind of speechless.
Bravo Hickman, bravo.
Pitarro has worked very well with Hickman’s story so I’m not surprised at how well it fits. Again, I think that last page is my absolute favorite so I can’t say much about it.
If you have the spare money, get this comic. If you don’t, scrounge around in your couch cushions and get this comic.