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The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 1: Science Bad Paperback – September 18, 2012

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Product Details

  • Series: Manhattan Projects
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Image Comics (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607066084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607066088
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

Demented story, demented art this books is really well done.
I know people swear by Hickman but I really couldn't get all that into this story.
Michael Austerlitz
This is one of the smartest, most enjoyable comics I have read in a long time.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 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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11 of 15 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric on December 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
Let's just make it clear right off the bat that this story has absolutely nothing to do with real science, history or the actual scientists whose names are used as if they are somehow embodied in these characters. Not even close. In other words don't go into this expecting it to be anything significantly deep or complex that might be implied by Hickman's rather ostentatious use of these people's names for such a farcical piece of fiction. Despite the way this series superficially presents itself, it's actually a fairly light and fun story, but also fairly hokey as it mixes a large variety of thinly explained science fiction-ish mumbo jumbo. This mishmash of ideas aren't anything really new, but the story still manages to keep things relatively interesting at least through volume one. Ultimately this story really needed a more firm premise instead of swashbuckling it's way through it's barrage of ideas.

Rewriting history into fiction (science fiction) can work well when it presents an alternative history that seems almost believable with big secrets that perhaps nobody ever knew about. When done properly this kind of secret history and tension between what we have always been told and what really happened can generate an interesting dynamic where the revealed truth creates a compelling sense of mystery for the reader to discover. Well, this story does none of that, because there is no history basis to begin with, and as such it makes me wonder why Hickman even bothered to use these historic names to begin with? With names like Feynman, Oppenheimer, Fermi and Einstein you would think there would be at least some reference to real science or actual history, even if it was just pseudo science. Nope.
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20 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Lieberoth ( on November 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book centers around a fictionalized version of the science-projects spawned by world war II, featuring people like Einstein and Oppenheimer as characters in a futuristic super-secret semi-autonomous government powerhouse. There are many weird characters in addition to those well known names, and the mix between science and mysticism (Japan attacking using machines powered by the meditation of Buddhist monks) has its moments. This is in no way subtle - it is epic and in your face science action mixed with an attempt at psychodrama. It demonstrates a lot of quirky ideas and background knowledge. Also, there are aliens at one point.

The art varies in quality. It can seem sketchy, but is imaginative and in certain places memorable. Some plays are made on color representing good and evil, real and not-so-much-so, but it seems contrived rather than intelligent or psychologically effective.

All in all, I had some hopes for this one, but ended up with a feeling ranging from "meh" to "pretentious waste of paper". There might be a demographic for this, but even though I enjoy a wide variety of graphic novels, it didn't do anything for me. So, give it a spin if you already like the author. Otherwise, this may not be the best choice.
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