Although Manhattan Projects is only three issues old now, I can easily say that this title is my most anticipated read each and every month. It’s one of the best written comics on the stands, if not the best, and the artwork by Nick Pitarra is sublime. I’m loving the done-in-one nature of the book, as you can easily pick up an issue and understand what’s going on, for the most part, but if you have read the other two issues, you’ll have a greater appreciation for what’s happening.
Whereas the first two issues have had a pretty tight focus in terms of what story Hickman was telling, this issue has a much wider scope, as it deals with the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President Truman’s ascendancy to President and the launching of an atomic bomb against Japan during World War II. By weaving all of these stories together, Hickman manages to ratchet up the tension in the issue as the various plotlines converge and lead up to an historic moment in history. From start to finish this issue is a joy to read, with Hickman crafting such memorable characters and putting them into action. Truman’s secret as a freemason, prior to becoming President, is quite humourous, and the death of FDR is portrayed as being a very sad event, even for the scientists of the Manhattan Projects, as it was FDR who put them all together and started the project in the first place. General Groves continues to be a true scene-stealer, as he’s a great character with such a strong presence throughout this book. I love how defiant he is, in the face of a new President who doesn’t truly grasp the severity of a situation, and how he does what he has to do, for the President he truly respects and admires, FDR. Einstein makes a brief appearance here, but is a joy to read, as is Oppenheimer, who’s having some interesting conversations with himself as his multiple personality disorder rears its hilariously ugly head.
Nick Pitarra is absolutely killing the artwork here on this series, his unique take is absolutely perfect for the story and sensibility that Hickman is telling and utilizing in this book. His take on the characters is part of what makes them so distinctive, not just the writing by Hickman, and I love his portrayal of Einstein in particular. Joining Pitarra with this issue is new colourist Bellaire, who does a phenomenal job. The flashback sequence in the first half of the issue really stands out visually because of the blue-tone used on the entirety of the page, save for on the Bible, which is coloured to stand-out in red. The artwork is quite unique, as Pitarra gives each character defining visual characteristics that separate them from the other characters in the book. Each character is quite unique and special, in a visual sense.
This book has proven to be worth taking a chance on with the first issue, as Hickman and Pitarra are telling some truly great stories, told within a historical context that only serves to make the reading experience more enriching and full. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!