I just finished reading the first issues of Saga by Brian K. Vaughn, and The Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman and all I can say is that I’m still swaying a bit. They are both spectacular.
Jonathan Hickman is often found writing for Marvel, but he initially grabbed attention for his original books. I remember picking up Pax Romana a few years ago and being beguiled by the aesthetic and mind-twisting story. His “The Manhattan Projects” takes that same Hickman style and applies it to this latest on-going project.
There are no superheroes here, at least not in the traditional sense. The Manhattan Projects is an alternate history of the development of the atomic bomb, with the twist being that the more public weapons development hides a variety of other super-high technology secret projects. Dr. Oppenheimer is one of our main characters, as should be expected, but his story holds its own special twists and turns and I simply can’t wait to see what happens next.
I admit the art isn’t quite to my taste on this book, which is odd as I liked the same artist’s work on last year’s Hickman-authored “The Red Wing”. It’s executed well enough, but not in a style I’m particularly fond of, though I do admit I like the way the tech is drawn and the character designs are cool. I think the colors match the style, as does the lettering, so the cohesive whole may have something to do with how I’m viewing it. But now I’m getting a bit geeky and technical. I just know that delving too much into what actually occurs in this issue will blow things for people and I am trying to be good about spoilers while still going “OMG I want to rave about this bit and that bit”.
So I’ll just skip to the next book instead, shall I?
Brian K. Vaughn wrote “Y: The Last Man” for those who are looking for a handhold on this author’s previous work. He’s written for the Big Two (DC and Marvel) as well as a fair amount of other “creator owned” work. “Saga” is his new on-going title and I am already in love.
Saga falls into the same “OMG I want to rave about this bit and that bit” category. Colors, art, stellar writing, a-mazing new world to float around in, I’ll be in this for the long haul.
The story itself is, in some ways, as old as the hills. Romeo and Juliet, only there is a baby involved and no interfering monk causing miscommunication and death. This R & J are soldiers from opposite sides, and species, of factions that have been at war for longer than anyone really remembers. Sounds basic enough except that she has wings, he has horns, and there is another faction involved who have televisions for heads. Yeah, it’s not exactly like something The Bard would write.
But the story has a crisp edge to it, sharp dialog and sharp storytelling, and all around awesome.
In all, I would highly recommend picking both of these up and giving them a shot. A couple more books to add to the pile of comics that I would hand to someone who said they didn’t like comic books. There are plenty of them out there, enough so that I wonder when people will stop viewing superheroes as the scapegoat for why they don’t read the books.