By Jonathan Hickman, Ryan Browne & Jordie Bellaire
The Manhattan Projects is one of the most bizarre and consistently good series to hit the stands month after month. With the release of issue #15 this week, superstar writer Jonathan Hickman has finally returned to the Oppenheimer Civil War.
The civil war was first shown in an earlier issue many months ago. This bizarre conflict literally takes place inside of Joseph Oppenheimer’s head. Having eaten so many alternate copies of himself (along with a number of other individuals, both human and alien), Joseph’s cranium is full of alternate versions of himself. This “not-world” in which they reside is really brought to fruition in this second installment of the war. This issue actually presented a huge amount of fantastic world-building, to the point where this aspect of the Manhattan Projects could easily serve as material for its own spin-off title. Most of the writing throughout issue #15 was told through narration, which was much more epic in tone than is typical for this book. However, this shift was very appropriate for this particular issue and really helped to emphasize the huge nature of the civil war. It’s also very interesting to see how the conflict evolves as each side figures out new and better ways to pummel their enemies. Finally, it was quite humorous to see Joseph’s side, the reds, speaking only in “hmmmmmm”, while Robert’s blues speak in numbers.
While not the first time another artist has filled in for series usual Nick Pitarra, issue #15 again hands the reins over to Ryan Browne. However, the change is barely perceptible, as Browne’s work in this book actually feels incredibly similar to Pitarra’s own illustrations. While artist changes, however brief, may disrupt the flow for some titles, this is far from the case with the Manhattan Projects #15. Furthermore, the attention to detail is magnificent; it’s great to see such a diverse array of Oppenheimers battling it out in fantastic and often bizarre ways. As typical in both the Oppenheimer Civil War issues and in series flashbacks, all of the characters are fully-colored in shades of either solid red or blue. This is particularly effective in the civil war installments, given that each side of the conflict is represented by a different color.
Issue #15 of the Manhattan Projects is a terrific addition to this already incredible series. A return to the Oppenheimer conflict has been greatly anticipated following the initial installment, and this latest issue surpassed its predecessor. The world-building was amazing, particularly given how little readers have actually been treated to this aspect of the story. There is practically a whole mythology inside of this one character’s head and it provides an excellent change of pace for this already consistently interesting title. Full of suspense, intrigue, and action, issue #15 was an epic chapter in the saga of one of the wackiest books you could be reading.