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The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 1: Science Bad Paperback – September 20, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mad science has long been a prime subject for comics. Hickman’s latest series is about as mad as it gets, imagining that the Manhattan Project was really just a front for Oppenheimer, Einstein, Feynman, et al., to get into the really out-there stuff in Los Alamos. And while Japanese teleportation machines (Zen-powered by Death Buddhists), concurrent universes accessed by an enigmatic portal-stone, and shady bargains with warring alien races over humanity’s fate are all good and fun, Hickman’s strongest play is the way he tinkers with the historical cast members at the dawn of the atomic age. Oppenheimer, in particular, gets a disturbingly twisted portrayal, and who couldn’t love giving the Max Headroom treatment to postlife FDR? On the art side, Pitarra’s long-legged figures look like they could have just jumped out of a Where’s Waldo? book and into a zany, bloody conspiracy theory come to life. Determined to blow as many minds on as many different levels as he can, Hickman is onto something with this series. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Series: Manhattan Projects
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Image Comics (September 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607066084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607066088
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mitch Hamilton on September 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
I just read a new comic by Jonathan Hickman called The Manhattan Projects and it was CUH-RAY-ZEE.

If you know anything about the real Manhattan Project then you will be both fascinated and horrified by this alternate reality depiction of the scientists who built "The Bomb".

The Manhattan Projects is about atomic bombs in the same way The Matrix is about virtual reality. It's in there, but it ain't what you're expecting. Much like how the Matrix was a false world covering up the horrors of the real world The Manhattan Projects uses the front of building an atom bomb to hide the truth of weirder and more horrible experiments taking place at Los Alamos New Mexico.

All the big names are all there, Einstein, Oppenheimer, Von Braun, even President FDR, but they are not the men from our history books and Hickman takes them in weird and wild directions, ending with a cliff hanger that leaves you shuddering at the thought of what's to come.

You should give Manhattan Projects a try if you're at all interested in strange and unique stories that are a little on the creepy side. The trade paperback collecting the first 5 issues is now out... and waiting for you.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By James Donnelly VINE VOICE on September 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jonathan Hickman has, for the last few years at least over at Marvel, been the "big brain" writer. He wrote several books from FANTASTIC FOUR to FF (Future Foundation) to the more esoteric and incredibly ambitious version of S.H.I.E.L.D and more recently on THE ULTIMATES. He's a creator who has a great love for great minds and always shoots for the smartest reader in the comic shop. When the idea of Hickman and his RED WING partner Nick Pitarra's THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS for Image Comics was first presented to me, it seemed like something that was an absolute natural for Hickman. A comic about the assembly of some of the greatest scientific minds in history that did actually participate in the actual "Manhattan Project" of development of the Atomic Bomb, but also, even more secretly, did some of the most brain-shredding science ever? And not only would it be about the science that they do, but the scientists themselves, like Joseph Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Richard Feynman and the project's leader, General Leslie Groves.

What Hickman does here, and does so incredibly well, is that he creates a bizarre and twisted characterization for each of these real people and gives it the intelligence and creativity to make it work within the framework of this book. As way of a for instance, Oppenheimer has multiple-personality disorder, and feels that he, as Joseph, has "devoured" his brother Robert and become an amalgam of the two... and that's just the first chapter. Scientist Harry Daghlian has apparently absorbed so much radiation that he's essentially just a skeleton in a containment suit. Fermi may very well not be a human being. Einstein... well... he has a monolith.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Grey on February 15, 2015
Format: Paperback
About ten pages into The Manhattan Projects: Science Bad a character makes a passing reference to "last month's sentient origami incident" and follows with the absolutely deadpan comment that "Paper cuts are no way for a man to meet his maker." After that, it did not matter to me at all that I had no idea what was going on or that I wasn't entirely sold on the art: I was completely on board with this book. Sentient. Origami.

To be fair, the narrative starts to clear up not far after that, and it becomes clear that this is an alternate history MP staffed by Oppenheimer's Serial Killing Evil Twin, a drunken Einstein, and the disembodied consciousness of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (did I mention yet that I'm totally onboard?), whose mission parameters have them stopping invasions by both Nazis and aliens.

It's difficult to guess where Hickman and Pitarra are headed with this series, other than that it probably involves a lot of physics-influenced parallel world or selves/entanglement themes, but the set up is unique enough that I'm more than willing to let them run with it and see where it goes...provided there are plenty of Death Buddhists and Sentient Origami along the way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Adam C. on April 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the first volume. The handling of the Oppenheimer character was amazing, enough said no spoiler. The characters as a whole seem to have a good depth and variety. Whether or not it plays out well only time, and volume 2 and 3, will tell. This volume does a good job of laying a foundation, introducing characters, and coming to something of a conclusion while simultaneously leaving an opening for more story, hence volume 2 and 3. You really can't ask for more. The art is good. It grew on me as I read. This book would be good for people that enjoy a comic outside the normal "dude with gadgets versus bro in panties and a cape" stuff that we get in heavy doses. Don't get me wrong,I like superheroes plenty, but something like Manhattan Projects, Wasteland, and Walking Dead are a nice change from that formula. Nicely done and cool take as an alternate reality using some real people from actual history. Like Thor! Ok, maybe not like Thor but it is cool and unique. Worth a comic lover's time in my opinion.
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