The characters illustrate a perfect blending of historical figures being the epitome of comic book mad scientists in a setting where they have all the resources needed to create . . . well, mad science. From Von Braun’s mechanical arm and cold, scientifically driven madness to the somehow comical look of Hitler holding a flower whilst talking about rockets, there lies an underlying story of ever-escalating ‘what ifs,’ all delightfully ushering the reader along with a sense of trepidation.
Nick Pitarra’s art is brilliant; he brings life to the characters while meticulously drawing intricate and fantastic backgrounds for each panel. The facial expressions just ooze with a grittiness and personality, drawing you forward into the plot and further into the characters. In this issue in particular, I must draw attention to and congratulate Jordie Bellaire’s coloring. The blue and red contrast is beautiful and alluring and not to be missed.
If I have a criticism to make, it is simply that for such a grandiose concept, by issue six, the gravity of this world must propel the plot to equivalent heights. I do not fault the heavy character backstory of the issue, as it was rich and entertaining. There’s humanity within the characters, perhaps a sense of pity, but the intrigue lies within the possibility of wholly unethical, terribly destructive science-fiction science. What I was truly craving were the earth-shattering effects of these men, although, the final panel leads the reader to imagine a momentous turning point, and has me very excited for the next issue. I think as long as Jonathan Hickman manages to steer clear of the Saturday Morning Anime cliché*, we should see an exciting and, of course, madly entertaining seventh issue.
The Manhattan Projects passes the grade. It’s a book about mad scientists post-WWII, and it’s good.
*The Saturday Morning Anime Cliché – A situation where a story continually builds toward an “epic” climax, which is subsequently subverted and/or wholly disappointing, all the while reassuring the viewer that next week something will be “epic.”