Tag Archives: The Manhattan Projects

Podcast Episode Sixty Nine

The guys are back together with a special episode describing their favorite years reading comics. Alex, Pat & Dean describe their personal memories of that time, what they were reading, important comics moments from those years, how it affected them, and it the way it shaped them as comic readers going forward. In addition, Alex recaps the rest of his trip and the culture shock he experienced from large cities in the Mid-Atlantic (apologies to people from Baltimore in advance) culminating in an unsettling hotel experience.

Indubitable Issues and Pull List (9/21/15)




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.”

Continue reading Indubitable Issues and Pull List (9/21/15)

Hickman, Religion, Science and Nihilism

god-is-dead-2-end-of-daysIt’s always been difficult being raised in a religious household and holding on to those beliefs but still consider myself a stern believer in scientific theory and facts. Throughout 2013 I’ve found myself emphasizing with Jonathan Hickmans writing in a different way than when I initially fell in love with his work on Fantastic Four, Red Wing and Red Mass for Mars because of that. Much like some of his creations I see three sides of Hickman or three Hickmans like the multiple Openheimers if you will that make up the whole of his writing. The first side is Hickman the designer, the guy that was in advertising/graphic design and would end up writing and illustrating his earlier work like Nightly News and Pax Romano that looked like neo advertising and propaganda. There is Hickman the futurist which is the writer that is obsessed with scientific theory and how that applies within these fictional worlds that his writing inhabits. The third and probably most interesting is Hickman the philosopher which is the the writer that uses big science fiction ideas that the comic book medium excels at to explore shared truths and idea’s about the world we live in. There has been a disconnect with comic book fans and Hickman in regards to his current output as he’s ascended to one of the top authors with Marvel and Image Comics that I believe has a direct correlation with Hickmans philosophical leaning. The books that put Hickman in the place he’s at today where Fantastic Four, Red Wing and Red Mass for Mars; three comics where the philosophical undertone was centered on the meaning and importance of family, it’s legacy on the individual and how that translates to their interaction with the world at large. If Hickmans current output feels colder than his previous work it is because the exploration of that theme is over in his writing. Hickman is now looking at the ultimate death and destruction of our universe and he is centering that through the prism of old testament religious philosophy in contrast to scientific theory to further explore the nature of existence and how humanity uses these ideas to our own end when the stakes are a zero sum game of survival.

Continue reading Hickman, Religion, Science and Nihilism

Review of The Manhattan Projects #21

mpby Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Browne

Jonathan Hickman has proven over time that he is on the best and most prolific creators in comics with his steady stream of Marvel and creator owned work but in spite of the dissenting opinions The Manhattan Projects has remained his strongest work for the last two years and that is because he manages to ratchet up the imagination and insanity to levels that are equal parts haunting, hilarious and full of wonder to the highest order. In #21 we get a bottle issue about the space exploration dog Laika who is kidnapped by an alien scientific research ship that manages to walk a fine line between tense narrative structure while still selling the goofy aspects perfectly. Hickman has managed to hit on something in this book that I haven’t seen from his other work which is this universal truth that individually and in a micro sense people or really living things as a whole are actually pretty funny but the universe in a large scale or a macro sense is actually pretty fucking terrifying and in Manhattan Projects life is a balancing act of trying to laugh your way through the terror. Ryan Browne fills in effortlessly in regular series artist Nick Pitarra to the point that it’s hard to tell the difference in the best way possible. I’m for sure picking up his God Hates Astronauts series in September just off the strength of his work here as he manages to capture the sort crazy/goofy/frightening aesthetic that this comic demands. The Manhattan Projects continues to be one of the best ongoing series in comics and really issue #21 is just another strong example of what makes it so great. After all when faced with such a dark large scale scope of the universe what else can you do but just laugh at the absurdity of it all?

Review of Manhattan Projects #19 By TheOtherBluth

img008Manhattan Projects #19: Finite Oppenheimers


Writer: Jonathan Hickman Art: Ryan Browne & Jordie Bellaire

Manhattan Projects is a book that will challenge you.  The story is not very straight forward, and it uses historical fiction to create a maniacally entertaining story. Fortunately for us, the ship is being steered by Jonathan Hickman; a man who knows how to weave complex and entertaining stories that reward our patience and examination.  It’s as if Hickman has a roulette wheel at his house, with all kinds of insane scenarios on it that he spins to see where he will take this very un-merry band of scientists and military men next.  For some that may result in a negative opinion of the story, but personally, I have loved the wild ride and all the ridiculous surprises along the way. Hickman and regular artist Nick Pitarra have clearly decided to go nth degree crazy with this book, and I think they are having a ball doing it.

Issue nineteen concludes The Oppenheimer Civil War, which has been going on for fifteen non-years–or three issues–inside the mind of the deranged twin of Robert, Joseph Oppenheimer.  Drawn by fill-in artist extraordinaire Ryan Browne–of “God Hates Astronauts” fame–these issues have taken the fantastic levels of crazy we’ve grown to love in this series, to wonderful new heights.  It has brought us moments that include Robert Oppenheimer storming into battle atop a headless horse to battle ninjas, barbarians, and all sorts of nutty iterations of Oppenheimer prime (Joseph).  Robert is joined by “redeemed” analogues of his adversary whose eyes he has cut out, a process that converts them to his side.  These three issues (10, 15, and now 19) have been some of my favorites of the series to date, for the unbridled approach and execution of such mind bending ideas.  One thing that bugged me was that Hickman mixes narrative caption boxes with regular dialogue to provide an objective historical perspective on the state of the war. I’m not a fan of this technique, because I find myself distracted a bit when reading it, the dialogue comes off stilted, and I lose the conversation threads when it occurs the entire issue.  Though most of the dialogue in this issue is limited to “Hmmm” and irrational numbers anyway, so not really a big deal, but it was one negative aspect I felt.  What has kept me wondering throughout these tangential chapters about the war; is how it all fits into the larger scheme of things in the “real” world of the title. What are the ramifications of the outcome of this war? Did this happen immediately after Roberts death, or is it happening in this book’s present time? Thankfully those issues are addressed at the conclusion of this book, and I have to say, I was simultaneously delighted and bummed. There’s no other way to put it, because I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will say no more than that.

Colorist Jordie Bellaire—who at this point has earned all of our admiration and awe—soaks these war issues in two main colors, blue and red; representing the two factions, with some gray scattered throughout for a neutral balance. This palette has been reflected in the series proper as well with red always representing the antagonist. Is this some sort of commentary on communism? I don’t know for sure, it could just be that red and blue are both highly contrasting primary colors that work well to establish sides when all the soldiers are analogues of the same person–yeah let’s go with that, fuck symbolism J Needless to say Jordie is killing it as usual, and I have to recognize her contributions to the overall look and feel of the art. Speaking of art, I can’t say enough good things about Ryan Browne’s work on this. His style fits perfectly with the tone established by Nick Pitarra, so the transition isn’t jarring at all. Browne has a wonderful ability to draw lines that appear sketchy and detailed at the same time. His facial expressions are phenomenal, and he can drawn the shit out of a horse with or without a head, or in this issue’s case with a badass armored-head adorned with a laser cannon and blue fire-breath! That’s right a fire-breathing horse! How can you not be reading and loving this book!

So to make a short review long, I found issue nineteen of Manhattan Projects to be another great issue in a fantastic series.  Hickman has been criticized in the past for his “cold” storytelling, and while this book doesn’t ooze with heart or feelings, it does deal with complex emotions and presents situations with bittersweet outcomes that left me feeling for the characters involved.  After reading this issue I can certainly say I have no idea where things are headed next, but I do know they will be exciting, crazy, and thought provoking. This book, in my opinion, is Hickman and company at their best, and I can’t wait to read the next installment.