I’m starting to run out of adjectives to describe Manhattan Projects, as there’s only so many ways to describe a book that is now, without a doubt, my favourite comic book being published today. It’s quite an achievement that I can feel so confident about a series that only has five issues published thus far, but every issue makes me surer of this pronouncement. Manhattan Projects is captivating, each and every issue, and a fantastic combination of both writing and artwork. As much as Hickman’s crazy ideas keep me salivating, so too does Pitarra’s artwork. I would also be remiss if I didn’t include in that sentence Jordie Bellaire, because it’s with Bellaire’s colours that this book attains its singularly unique visual look and style.
This new issue of Manhattan Projects, titled Horizon, takes the universe that this book has been operating in and expands it, and I can’t wait to see how the actions taken in this issue effect the rest of this book’s course. Up until now, the events occurring in this book have been, for the most part, confined to the planet Earth, whether in this dimension or in another, but this issue opens up the universe. In the last issue, we saw Oppenheimer and Groves meet with an alien race, but this issue continues that confrontation to its bloody and disgusting end, which opens the eyes of those involved with the Manhattan Projects. The opening scene is pitch-perfect, and is also absolutely horrifying. Oppenheimer is one of those characters that I can’t wait to see just what he’ll do, because he’s extremely unnerving as a character. He’s always fairly reserved and quiet (at least outwardly, to his fellow scientists, as inside he’s freakin’ crazy with infinite Oppenheimers in his head), but this issue was the first time that anyone saw that he might be more than a little deranged, and what this might actually mean. From the looks of it, Groves didn’t go any deeper into what was going on and what it means for who Oppenheimer is, but now the cat’s out of the bag that Oppenheimer isn’t quite normal and I wonder how this will play out in future issues. This issue features the first major foray of the Manhattan Projects scientists into space, after a fashion, and we’re starting to see the various threads from the past few issues start to come together. Up until now, the issues have been fairly set apart as done-in-ones, but now we’re seeing plot elements building upon past issues. The ending of this issue makes me wonder just what the gateway could be used for, with regards to the Infinite Oppenheimers, and the fact that they’re red, just as the evil Einstein and his universe was in the prior issue.
Pitarra’s artwork is absolutely brilliant in this series, and this issue he got to illustrate more creepy aliens, as we got a brief taste of his ability to illustrate aliens in the last issue. I loved his linework when detailing the aliens, as they really do look freaky and weird, just as they should. These aren’t humanoid aliens like we’re used to, as their bodies are weirdly shaped and detailed, although I did like that they’re wearing vaguely human clothes (especially Raal at the end, with his briefs). Bellaire’s colours are tremendous, as we get to see a wider colour palette in this issue once the team travels into space to confront the aliens. The stark contrast between blue and red is still found in different parts of the issue, and is one of my favourite elements of the colours in this book.
This was yet another immensely entertaining read by Hickman and Pitarra. For those readers who haven’t actually picked up an issue of this fantastic series yet, there is an upcoming Manhattan Projects: Science. Bad. tpb being released by Image Comics next month, on August 22nd. I’m for sure picking up the collected edition, so that I can proudly display it on my bookshelf. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!