Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review: The Manhattan Projects Volume 2

The Manhattan Projects Volume 2 continues the saga of the alternative versions of the people involved with the original Manhattan Project, reinvented by the mind of Jonathan Hickman.

This volume can be divided into three major stories, the first is the tale of Helmutt Gröttrup, where Hickman explorer the maxim “All men have masters”.

By following the life of Helmutt Gröttrup from the moment the Oberammergau Castle is being stormed by the allied forces until the "present" time, we get a tale about the behavior of the individual in the group. Hickman explores the  inter-group relations through the eyes of an Omega almost to a sadistic level.

This is my favorite story of this collection, mainly because it follows an unexpected protagonist and delivers a unapologetic take on the human condition. While this is not breaking any new ground, it is a very entertaining, off-beat take on the subject.

Helmutt is captured by the Russians
The second story, and by far the least interesting, is about a common struggle for power, between the established power of the USA and the World, and the new power, the Los Alamos Scientific community.

To be fair this one is a bit tame. Its more silly than interesting, although it does make you giggle a bit seeing Harry Truman in the midst of an orgy in the Oval room, or Einstein torturing a Luchador. But in the end of the day it’s a forgettable plot that only exists to change the status quo of the series. While not a bad plot, it pales in comparison with the rest.

Last but not least, there’s the Oppenheimer mind-fuck fest. There isn't much that can be said about this story without spoiling it. This is the trippiest story of The Manhattan Projects to date. It makes great use of the duality concept in the series (usually present though the coloring) and it paves the way to more Oppenheimer madness in the future.

This is a good book. A bit shy of the greatness of the first volume, mainly because of the lackluster second story, but a very enjoyable book nonetheless.

Art wise it’s the same as the first one. While I’m not the biggest fan of Nick Pitarra’s art style, he is coherent, and that is always a good thing. The coloring is a big part of the enjoyment of the book. It may be a bit gimmicky, but it does accentuate many of the twists of the plot and craziness of the characters, and it shines in the last story.

Publisher: Image Comics
Year: 2013
Pages: 152
Authors: Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra

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  1. In the first volume we saw that Oppenheimer was dangerously crazy, I can only imagine what happens in the second volume. Can't wait to read it. Looks like The Manhattan Projects continues to be one of Image's best ongoing series.

    1. Oppenheimer's madness in this volume is of a different kind. Less violence, more craziness. Still you'll get a kick out of it :)