Review - The Manhattan Projects #3

There's a really handy page at the end of The Manhattan Projects #3 that sums up all the genius contained within the series. It's a welcome page, because by the end of the third issue it gets difficult to discern who's who, considering all of the scientists involved all share a similarly demented outlook on life.

Published by Image Comics, The Manhattan Projects #3 is written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Nick Pittarra, colored by Jordie Bellaire and lettered by Russ Wooton.

Calling The Manhattan Projects out there is a vast understatement. Let's put it this way. The solicitation boasts the death of FDR, the creation of Artificial Intelligence 40 years early and the third atomic bomb being put to good use. And it's as strange as it sounds.

The third issue features all of the scientists in some capacity, although you could argue that both Harry Daghlian (who's literally a skeleton of his former self), Enrico Fermi and Joseph Oppenheimer get top billing. The former two scientists are working the AI angle, while the latter is with newly minted President Truman when Leslie Groves drops the bomb.

Hickman is playing fast and loose with history here, taking some liberties with what actually happened. All of the key players are here, but there's not really a unifying motive across them all. You could say in the end they want to make the atomic bomb work as intended. Or that they really want to see the AI work as they envision.

That's the thing though. It's a little unclear what all this is building up to. The writing and story aren't bad or anything...just a little confusing. This is a very, very whacked out series that relies on the reader having some understanding of history to fully get what's going on.

Every one of the scientists seems to have an excessive ego and is generally rather disturbed or self-righteous. Their personalities almost take away from the story, where they stand out more than the actual plot itself. The plot that is, again, a little unclear.

The art by Pittarra is equally as unsettling as the personalities. It has an unfinished quality to it that keeps the story off-kilter. It works for the story being told and the colors chosen create strange and uneasy hues throughout.

The third issue has sort of run out of steam. The first issue was really intriguing, showing the personality divide between the Oppenheimer brothers. The second issue showed the scientists needing another Nazi scientist with a robotic arm. The third issue slows down the story a bit more, but where that story is going is a little confusing.

The Manhattan Projects #3 is in stores now. Interiors are below.