REVIEW: The Manhattan Projects #5

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Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s The Manhattan Projects always leaves me with a lot of questions. Chief among them: How does this series keep getting better? Issue #4 featured an encounter between the Projects‘ scientists and some unexpected and unfriendly extraterrestrials, and issue #5 gives a clear indication of how far this story can go. It’s clear things are moving into uncharted territory, but in actuality Hickman has been leading us there all along. The universe should be very afraid.

Hickman’s story began as a alternate history centered on the development of the atomic bomb and has delivered twists and turns with every issue. “The bomb” is the least of this world’s (or any other’s) problems. I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen next and that feeling couldn’t be more satisfying. It’s a perfect blend of historical fiction, horror, the supernatural, and science(!). Some of the Projects’ supporting cast gets a chance to shine in issue #5, but as the series’ scope undergoes a fundamental shift toward the stars it’s very satisfying to once again see the “infinite” Opperheimers (and one in particular) take center stage by the issue’s end.

Nick Pitarra’s art has grown on me as this series has progressed. It’s perfect for the book and manages to bring the real and unreal elements of what’s happening on the page together seamlessly. This issue features some particularly gruesome and horrifying images that Pitarra tackles with aplomb. However, what really captured my attention here were the star maps used to introduce the intergalactic threats facing Earth. They’re reminiscent of the information dense graphics included in Hickman’s Secret Warriors series from Marvel, along with all the promise what they might mean for the future. It’s easily my favorite element of a great looking book from Pitarra and colorist Jordie Bellaira.

The Manhattan Projects ships monthly from Image Comics and consistently delivers on what the cover promises: What if everything… went wrong? It’s a welcome treat each month and I highly recommend giving it a look. This book is just crazy fun.

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