Graphic Novel Review : Hickman and Pitarra’s MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2!

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“The World has rules, created by those who consider themselves above them. So we became radicals, who accepted neither.” — Jonathan Hickman’s THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2



THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2- I find writer Jonathan Hickman’s work very hit and miss. Quite frankly more miss than hit, while always filled with elaborate and imaginative ideas, his work generally lacks an emotional quotient, an emotional core, to make it worth reading.

His writing then becomes simple extrapolations of the head, that lack heart. Cold and off-putting works. I find this of almost all of his mainstream work that I have tried, SECRET AVENGERS, FANTASTIC FOUR, his current AVENGERS work I find unreadable dreck, with nothing to keep anyone emotionally interested or invested.

His Indie work can be likewise a gamble. Volume 1 of his Image series THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS was okay, if unremarkable. However I’m glad to say Volume 2 is much better, as Hickman is finally starting to pull taut the threads of his story.

The art by Nick Pitarra does a lot of the heavy lifting, with fun sight gags and panels that makes this far more entertaining than arguably the words or script alone would convey. I point you to the panel of the oval office orgy (say that three times fast 🙂 )for proof of that.

So lifted up on Pitarra’s visuals Hickman’s MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOL 2 is finally starting to hit its stride. And while Volume 1 is okay to read, it is not necessary, you could just pick up Volume 2, as it brings you up to speed pretty quickly. Grade: B. Worth a Purchase.

The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 2 – Price your copy here


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Current Comic Book Reads Fall 2010: Jonathan Hickman’s S.H.I.E.L.D 1-3

SHIELD 1-3 by Jonathan Hickman published by Marvel Comics. Jonathan Hickman, of NIGHTLY NEWS fame, has an interesting premise in this book about the secret history of SHIELD. Unfortunately the book’s promise, three issues in, is hampered by art that is a bit too reminiscient of 90s image art (if the cover art was indicative of the interior art, that would help a lot), and also by a central character who has yet to emotionally connect with the reader in any way. The praise for this book was heavy, but it hasn’t quite earned it yet. Plus the white ancient Egyptians/Nubians… uh yeah… that never works for me.

In many ways it seems a weak precursor to the far better illustrated and, to this point, more engaging EARTH X in terms of seeking to create a conspiratorial, larger historical tapestry for the Marvel Universe.

But it is only 3 issues in. And Hickman is an interesting and innovative writer, so I’m willing to give this a couple more issues, before jumping ship. One of the reasons I picked this up in issues rather than waiting for the trade, was that I thought the issues would have detailed backmatter/letters pages, and unfortunately that, so far, is not the case.

So if that trend continues there is no incentive for me to pick up the individual issues. And if Hickman doesn’t begin to invest his story with some type of emotional resonance, ie characters we care about (the one failing I do notice about Hickman’s work… it’s cold), there won’t be any incentive to pick up the trades either.

Grade:C.