The Manhattan Projects 1: Science Bad

manhattan projects volume 1 science bad cover trade paperback
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Good story and art

Weird history blend might not be fore everyone

Comic Info

Comic Name:  The Manhattan Projects

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Jonathan Hickman

Artist:  Nick Pitarra

# of Issues:  5

Release Date:  2012


The Manhattan Projects #1

Reprints The Manhattan Projects #1-5 (March 2012-July 2012).  The Manhattan Projects is a covert science operation assembled by Roosevelt to create the atomic bomb to end World War II but it also has bigger plans.  With Robert Oppenheimer (who is secretly his psychotic twin Joseph), Albert Einstein (replaced by a duplicate from another world), Nazi German traitor Wernher von Braun, alien Enrico Fermi, and irradiated Harry Daghlian among others, the Manhattan Project under Leslie Groves is out to push the boundaries of science no matter the cost…but could destroy itself from inside.

Written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Nick Pitarra, The Manhattan Projects Volume 1:  Science Bad collects the first five issues of the continuing series.  The series was well received by critics and nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Continuing series.

With its high tech in the past, The Manhattan Projects has a ’50s sci-fi feel.  The strange combination of history and faux history leads to an interesting blend that has a fun but dark twist to it.


The Manhattan Projects #5

I enjoyed this collection of The Manhattan Projects, but it also felt a little derivative.  The comic series feels a lot like Planetary…but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Planetary.  I don’t know if Hickman is setting up a master conspiracy of replacement but I found it a bit forced to have both Einstein and Oppenheimer replaced by evil duplicates…Oppenheimer’s reveal wasn’t shocking but fun, but Einstein’s reveal felt repetitive.  Despite these small criticisms, I did enjoy the series.

The art for the series also reminds me a bit of Planetary.  Nick Pitarra’s style is similar to John Cassaday mixed with Frank Quitely.  I enjoy both artists and think Pitarra’s a good combo of the two.  I also enjoy the color schemes by Jordie Bellaire and how the red and blue themes keep cropping up in the story to imply good and evil.  The use of minimalistic covers (often resembling more file-like issues) also adds a nice touch to the “government” based story.

The Manhattan Projects 1:  Science Bad probably isn’t for everyone.  This feels like the start of something bigger, but those into conspiracy theory, The X-Files, and high concept comics probably should check it out.  Hickman continues to show a decent range in writing style, and I’m glad he’s still doing some more independent work as seen in this collection.  The Manhattan Projects Volume 1:  Science Bad is followed by The Manhattan Projects Volume 2:  They Rule.

Related Links:

The Manhattan Projects Volume 2:  They Rule

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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