Jonathan Hickman is a godsend to modern day comics. All of his stories are completely original and distinctive, with a dash of insanity involved, and yet completely consistent in this way of story telling. His current long running comic, The Manhattan Projects is no different. I’ll be the first to admit I am a full blown Hickman fanboy, just as well I have yet to read anything he’s done that was bad or mediocre.
This issue is a continuation of a storyline first brought up in issue #10 of the series (5 issues ago). The Oppenheimers are at war with themselves, or you could look at it like Oppenheimer is at war within himself. Either way, this character is a bat shit crazy cannibal that invented the nuclear bomb, and he suffers from (or relishes in) multiple personality disorder. The whole issue is centered on Joseph Oppenheimer coming back from within Robert Oppenheimer’s mind. The war is in full force as Joseph has found a way to infiltrate the “reds” (Robert) and is now able to manipulate them and find his way back from the cruel fate of being eaten by his brother.
The story told in this issue of the Oppenheimers reminds me a lot of Being John Malkovich in that everything is Oppenheimer, even the moon. I really enjoy the deviously morose nature of Oppenheimer and the sociopathic tendencies that Hickman writes for the character. Its simply villainous to the highest standard.
One thing I’ve always really enjoyed about Hickman’s work is his dialogue. It’s always sharp, witty and fits the nature of the comic he’s writing. It never, for a single panel, feels forced or dull. Also, he easily finds each character's “voice,” so to speak, and it’s easy to know which one is which. I would talk about the plot in this issue more, but really the whole thing was about Oppenheimer and the war in his head. Nothing else happened to propel the story, really, except the last few panels. And lets face it; this comic is exciting and awesome with it's parallel earth history story gone mad.
This issue is by a fill in artist, Ryan Brown who also drew Issue 10, where this all started. His art is pretty good, and he does his job for this issue masterfully. For those not familiar with Browne he has done some fantastic work on God Hates Astronauts and is currently the new artist for the amazing comic Bedlam. So its great to see his work in this issue of Manhattan Projects once again. The whole of the comic is colored in interchanging hues of blues and reds to portray the factions of the Oppenheimers. Its a simplistic yet perfect way to portray the duality of the character in art form.
If you have yet to check out this series for whatever reason, I urge you to start now! It's not too late and really its just a lot of fun to read and look at with every issue.
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About the Author - Wildcard
Dustin prefers to go by the name of Wildcard, and he wont tell you his last name because then he would have to kill you. Or mostly because it's unpronounceable to most people. His love of comics formed during the 90's when Superman was dying and Batman was broken. Years later when touring with a band around 2008 the only thing he had to do was read extensive amounts of comics and catch up on all the missed years of stories, therefore the wealth of knowledge in his head is insurmountable by anyones standards. He considers himself extremely opinionated when it comes to comic books or any form of media, which has always caused arguments and butt hurt a plenty due to his outspoken opinions on such things. In his spare time he writes some comics he hopes to get published one day and is a graphic designer. He sometimes wishes Nicolas Cage was his real father. Hail Sagan. Follow Wildcard on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
“Your head's like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there! But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune's all we are.”
― Grant Morrison
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