“Nick and I always knew that when the comic got to a certain point we would be changing format, as Manhattan Projects was always intended to eventually be a book where we could tell any kind of story – in any genre – we wanted. We were also aware that doing so would mean that we would be changing the entire structure narrative that moves each individual character’s story incrementally along, and replacing that will be tight arcs focusing on a single (or few) characters.” – Jonathan Hickman
Continue reading This Year’s Finest 2015: The Manhattan Projects Space Is Depressing
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HERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT WILL NOT DISAPPOINT.Tyler’s Recommendations: Manhattan Project: The Sun Beyond the Stars #3
“It’s been a while since the last issue, but this week the intergalactic adventures of Yuri and Laika continue. Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra have created one of the wildest comics around, and I’m always excited to read the next chapter.”
Manhattan Projects is so wonderfully wacky. Hickman and Pitarra have done something obvious yet brilliant with this story. They created a 25 issue comics with a large cast of extremely interesting and intriguing characters. Instead of dragging out the series any longer, they realizes they had enough fuel here to ignite multiple fires. So they started The Manhattan Projects: Sun Beyond the Stars, a spinoff of the character Yuri. A man takes to the galaxy in search of his dog, Laika. Manhattan Projects has always been at it’s finest when Hickman has been able to explore these crazy scientific ideas, while also introducing hilarious new extraterrestrial species. The way this man’s mind works is right up my alley. This series so far, has been very funny and there were no shortage of laughs in this the third issue of the spinoff.
What I really want to know, is what goes on in the meetings between Hickman and Pitarra when they discuss characters. I can’t imagine Hickman describes to Pitarra in detail what he wants an alien to look like, these beings are way too ridiculous to be explained. I’d think Pitarra comes to the meeting with sketches of characters and Hickman says, “okay this guy will be a robot which can’t help but lie. This one will be a judge that has extremely shaky morals but when he decides something is wrong, the penalty is death. This character will be the slave of a species who are very knowledgeable, but mostly fact based and this knowledge is transferred through the sucking of the master’s toes. This last guy here will be a creature that says “blurg” for two issues and then all of sudden it comes out that he can talk and is kinda snobby.”
I don’t know who comes up with these characters but they are as equally hilarious as they are delightful to read. Pitarra’s illustrations are off the wall bonkers. Every single detail, from the elongated fingers down to the grotesquely bumpy toes is what makes Manhattan Projects a wonder to open up every month.
When you break it down, this is the classic story of a man trying to win back the heart of his dog. I think Manhattan Projects is one of Image’s strongest comics and doesn’t get enough talk these days, probably because it has been so good for so long. Hickman and Pitarra are smashing this book and I can’t wait for more of this story as well as any other spinoffs they have planned. (Albert Einstein please!)
People who think Jonathan Hickman’s writing is “too cold” suck at reading. Just because there is a lot of words with some words that are bigger than ordinary words, doesn’t make him a bad writer. The too cold knock has always been total nonsense, FF #17 is quite possibly one of the the funniest comics I’ve ever read. Hickman’s humor is a dry wit that plays well with his more detached view of humanity. Yes it’s not always there but when he’s on, he is dead to rights in his satire and Hickman is never on more then when he is writing The Manhattan Projects with artist Nick Pitarra, the funniest high level space opera in comics.
The Manhattan Projects has been surpassed in the cultural consciousness by East of West, the epic finale of Hickman’s Avengers books and Secret Wars, but it remains his most vibrant and fully formed of all his work since Fantastic Four. What started out as an alternate history of the worlds most famous scientist has expanded to cut across the entire universe for a complex and imaginative examination of life, power and subjugation. But while Manhattan Projects has it’s sobering moments, it’s never too far away from some true hillarity and in the second issue of the title’s relaunch, Hickman & Pitarra have leaned on that aspect of the series to fantastic results. There is still the sense of wonder and imagination that permeates all of Hickman’s writing but there is also a giant blue ball with two faces that just says “Blarg, Blarg” that is equal parts adorable, ugly and sidesplitting. Part of this is a natural byproduct of Pitarra’s pencil work which is dynamic and versatile enough to nail both the epic and small moments in equal measure while having an air of cartooning and classic underground comix to help sell the lighter moments. It’s Pitarra’s natural ability to illustrate in a manner that feels closer to a comedic tone but then expand on that to realize this epic vision of the series ambition. While The Manhattan Projects is very much in a similar vein to Hickman’s other work, it feels like Pitarra’s playfulness accentuates another dimension to the series that gives it such a unique and satirical voice.
Issue two of The Manhattan Projects The Sun Beyond The Stars has Hickman & Pitarra firing on all cylinders. While this has always been one of the best series in comics, since it’s returned off sabitical earlier this year, it’s felt tighter and more concise. Hickman & Pitarra have managed to max out their strengths here and the book feels more exciting then ever.
Change is good. So much has happened since the beginning of Manhattan Projects. When we left the book back in issue #25 what was once a pretty closely related group of characters had separated into a number of groups, all with their own crisis to deal with. The book was as good as ever at this point, but it was becoming quite hard to keep up with every group’s crisis, especially on a month by month basis. Hickman decided that he would end the group story of the Manhattan Projects and try a new angle. He will now be focusing on individuals and their stories. The first is called The Sun Beyond Our Stars and focuses on the story of astronaut Yuri Gagarin, who personally was not one of my favorite characters. However I did like his story line, he lost his talking dog on a space mission and has been looking for her ever since. So I was eager to find out more about Yuri.
With unclear expectations as to what this book would contain I jumped right in. I found out that with less human characters Hickman has a lot of pages and a lot of space to write in aliens, which Hickman writes best. We all remember “The Dude Blue” from issue #17. With this book focusing on only one human, Yuri, Hickman can have fun with all the alien species. In this issue we meet Garru. Garru loves to talk, and he loves to eat. Garru accidentally confused a sacred reproduction center for a standard eatery and ended up eating the last eggs of the Hazuli people, wiping out the next generation and since Hazuli people can only reproduce once in their life he has eaten a species into extinction. He stands by the fact that it was an honest mistake and doesn’t seem too worried about his upcoming trial. If you liked issue #17 of Manhattan Projects I can’t see why you wouldn’t like issue #1 of Manhattan Projects The Sun Beyond The Stars. Both Hickman and Pitarra are really in their element with the multitude of alien species. A lot of these scenes feel like scenes from Star Wars with bars full of dozens of strange aliens. A fun and solid issue out the gate for this new style of story telling.