• Friday, February 27, 2015


The Manhattan Projects

Farhanul Hasan

The Manhattan Projects is, simply put, mad science at its best. It is bizarre and twisted -- yet magnificent in scope and creativity. Superstar writer Jonathan Hickman speculates a terrific array of ideas and insights into the original research team assembled for Los Alamos' legendary “Manhattan Project”. Hickman's depictions captured the notion that the Manhattan Project masqueraded as the creation of the atom bomb, whereas in truth it was a front for a series of “other, more unusual, programmes”. The greatest minds of the atomic age, including Einstein, Oppenheimer, Fermi and Feynman are all re-imagined in sensational and shocking fashion -- sure to chill any fans of science and science fiction out there to the bones.
The idea that the atom bomb was just the beginning of the wonders accomplished by the Manhattan Project sets the tone for the series from the very first issue. The popular conspiracy theories regarding the extent and the potential of the project are tested and explored in dramatic fashion. The many extraordinary ideas conceived by the projects, according to the book, ranged from inter-dimensional gateways to mythological weapons to extra-terrestrial communication. Almost every story is strange and filled with stuff you wouldn't expect to see in a typical comic book. For those familiar with the scientific breakthroughs during the Second World War or the science of the 20th century, this book will -- there's no other way to put it -- blow your mind. Be prepared for the multiple (grotesquely scary) personalities of Robert Oppenheimer and his serial killer twin brother (!) Joseph, an evil Einstein from another dimension, an irradiated skeleton of a Harry Daghlian, a robot-armed Wernher von Braun and an artificial intelligence version of the perished US president Franklin D Roosevelt…Freaked out yet?
This book deals with the “what ifs” and “why nots” of one of mankind's most historic eras, rather than press the reader with the hard facts behind the events that unfold. There's a lot of history and a whole lot of sheer craziness that makes The Manhattan Projects one of the most engaging reads in recent memory. The possibilities are endless as Hickman goes far and wide with his ideas regarding the clandestine projects and the secret lives of the people who defined the times. The technology on display here is well ahead of our time and the scientists, whose lives are chronicled in such stupendous style, are some of the eeriest and most fascinating adaptations of real people, depicted in comics.
The artwork and the colouring, which may seem juvenile at first sight, help set the tone of the story. The simple brilliance of the use of colours is demonstrated through the use of red and blue backdrops for showing separate dimensions. The collaboration of writer Hickman and artist Pitara with the creative team makes for an immensely witty book. The genius and innovation of Hickman's ideas are given life in the expert visual depiction.
The Manhattan Projects is distorted and fantastic history. It's a no-holds-barred, out-of-this-world and often, difficult to digest, tale. And it is undoubtedly one of the smartest, craziest and most interesting comic books of our time.

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, May 01, 2014

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