Science bad, indeed.
Everyone knows about how the atomic bomb was made, how America brought together the worlds greatest scientists. But did they know that the bomb was just the least of many Manhattan Projects?
An Image series written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by Nick Pitarra, The Manhattan Projects
features Oppenheimer, Daghlian, Von Braun, Richard Feynman
, and Albert Einstein
as they fight zen-powered robots, meet aliens, and discover wormholes. Meanwhile each of the members of the league have their own alliances and agendas. As the group redefines the twentieth century, they must face threats from all around, as well as inside.
Contrast with East Of West
, Jonathan Hickman's other
alternate history of America series.
This series provides example of:
- Alternate History: The key conceit of the work being that the Manhattan Project was just a cover-up for a number of more crazy things. It's played with though as historical characters are wildly exaggerated to fit in with the strange world.
- Anyone Can Die: No matter how important you were to real history.
- Artificial Intelligence: Thanks in part by using FDR's dead body.
- Artificial Limb: Von Braun gets more robotic appendages as the series goes on.
- Badass Normal: With a cast of maniacs and mad scientists, nearly every character qualifies. Special mention must be made of General Westmoreland, who kills a mutant superweapon made from bits and pieces of alien monsters, armed with only a bowie knife and a bald eagle tattoo
- Black Comedy: The entire work functions as a gory comedy centered around cartoonish versions of famous scientists (not that its without excellent drama). Special mention goes out to "We'll have to postpone the orgy".
- Brain in a Jar: Literally, the head of the Russian team is a brain in a jar mounted on a robot body.
- Brotherhood of Funny Hats: Truman is a mason. See page image.
- Butt Monkey: Things continue to get worse and worse for Helmutt. Von Braun does not help.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Oppenheimer, which makes Oppenheimer's brain something of a Cloud Cuckoo Land.
- Death by Cameo: When Einstein and Feynman's alien weapon gets loose, it beheads two mooks who look astoundingly like John Layman and Rob Guillory the creators of Chew.
- In fact most nameless mooks who die grisly deaths are comics creators (and one cosplayer that beat the artist at arm wrestling) that Pitarra put into the background (or foreground) without Hickman knowing.
- Establishing Character Moment: Many characters get these.
- In the first issue, Oppenheimer viciously kills the Japanese robots hinting at his unpredictable vicious personality.
- Feynman is first shown psyching himself up in the mirror.
"Good Mr, Feynman. You're smart, you're handsome. You're a very special person."
- Evil Twin: Joseph Oppenheimer, and Albrecht Einstein.
- Freak Lab Accident: The reason why Daghlian wears a Clingy Costume.
- Freudian Excuse: Feynman's wild Narcissism is shown to be a product of his father's ridiculous quest for perfection.
- Historical In-Joke: Too many to count. For example, the real Harry Daughlin died from his exposure to the core. And the real Fermi made an argument against the existence of intelligent aliens. Doubles as Genius Bonus.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Joseph Oppenheimer.
- Killed Off for Real: The series has a ridiculously high body count including (but not limited to) Robert Oppenheimer, Harry Truman, Enrico Fermi, and Joseph Oppenheimer. Some of them continue to make appearances through Oppenheimer.
- Knight Templar: Gen. Groves: his father was an army preacher who instilled in him a strong sense of morality and justice. Possibly too strong.
- Mecha-Mooks: The Kamikaze Killing Machine
- The Mole: Enrico Fermi is a drone from an alien race. The members are so disgusted by this that they won't even let him live on by being devoured by Oppenheimer. Ouch.
- Narcissist: Feynman is a textbook narcissist with a Freudian Excuse.
- Noodle Incident: Due to its subject matter, there are more than a couple, but the first issue contains this awe-inspiring reference from General Groves:
"Ever since the success of Pearl Harbor, the emperor and his warlords have gotten extremely aggressive. We're even having to check every ream of paper that's delivered to critical government offices after last month's sentient origami incident. I saw the bodies, Doctor... Paper cuts are no way for a man to meet his maker."
- Our Skeletons Are Different: Harry Daughlin is a skeleton held together with radiation.
- Shout-Out: Issue 20 has a rather obvious one to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- Split Personality: Joseph Oppenheimer. More than split, Oppenheimer absorbs the identities of all of his victims as well as splitting off new personalities at random. One issue is titled Infinite Oppenheimers
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: von Braun and his robotic arm.
- Team Pet: Laika, after the team makes their alliance with the Russians.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Von Braun, Hitler, and Helmutt.
- Verbal Tic: Oppenheimer's repeated "Hmmmmmmm!". Inside his head, it's all anyone can say at first.