The Manhattan Projects #9 Review

Picking up right where we left off last month, the Projects team takes the fight to the Illuminati after being betrayed by the A.I. Franklin Roosevelt. This issue sees a pretty significant shift in the series’ status quo going forward. Here’ the official description of The Manhattan Projects #9 from Image:

Everything clicks into place as we learn about the competing plans of Oppenheimer, Groves, Einstein and von Braun for world domination. Part one of two.

SPOILER WARNING>>> Jonathan Hickman keeps this issue pretty straightforward, with Groves, Einstein and the others first interrogating Roosevelt, threatening to delete him if he doesn’t cooperate. From there they take out the other Illuminati members one by one, ending in a victory that actually leaves them better off than they were before the attack happened. The make up of the Illuminati group isn’t particularly original, and brings to mind similar groups in books like Wanted, which mix traditional comic book grandiosity with postmodern tongue-in-cheek. Case in point, El Conquistadori is the head of a Global Banking Cartel and a part-time Junior Heavyweight Luchador Champion.

In recent issues, MP has become much more straightforward, with less of its trademark combination of character drama and quantum physics, focusing instead on action and intrigue. Some readers may not care for this change, but I prefer the straightforward approach, although I do want the series to keep close to its roots.

Two of the standout scenes of the issue involve Laika the space dog, who artist Nick Pittara manages to make endearing, amusing, and a bit off-putting all at once. The first comes when Laika pees on an electrical plug to short it out. It’s a hilarious scene, but I question it on the levels of both story and artistic accuracy, specifically, why wasn’t she electrocuted and do female dogs pee that way? I say a) she should have been, and b) they don’t. Silly as these questions are, they focus on legitimate problems in the mechanics of the book. The other Laika scene has no such concerns, as she faces down an Egyptian wizard with the machine guns mounted on her suit. There’s some great dialogue here and Pittara perfectly captures her doggy emotions.

Overall, this is another great issue of The Manhattan Projects. The ending is so elegantly accomplished, it feels like Hickman did a magic trick right in front of us, before we even knew it was happening. Pitarra’s layouts and depictions, along with colorist Jordie Bellaire, of the various outlandish characters make this one of the most visually engaging issues to date.


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