• Manhattan Projects #9 Cover Annotations 

    The Multiversity Projections #9: Brave New World

    By Brian Salvatore | February 13th, 2013
    Posted in Annotations

    Welcome to The Multiversity Projections, our monthly column focused on the Image Comics series “The Manhattan Projects” from Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra. Each month, we’ll be taking a look at the most current issue of the series and comparing notes from actual history and the alternate version presented in the book, and trying to use actual historical data to predict where the series is going next. This is a spoiler-heavy column, so if you have not yet read the most current issue of “The Manhattan Projects”, be warned that many major plot points will be discussed.

    The column logo is designed by the incredible Tim Daniel, whose work can be found here.

    Disclaimer: I am not an expert in either science or World War II history; all of the information I will be using in this column is either easily found on the internet or is purely my opinion.

    If you’ve been granted security clearance, read on for your briefing.

    Brave New World

    This issue is the conclusion of the first full arc (or second, if you count arcs by collected editions), and it sets a tone for where the series is headed – which is to even more absurd and fun places.

    Continued below

    The Golden Key, Part 1

    “The world, what is it but broken dreams and broken men…a thing well worth having.”

    This quote is an interesting one, for a few reasons, but especially because the men of the Manhattan Projects, if they are broken, either hide it extraordinarily well or simply don’t believe they are broken. The unmitigated gall and hubris seeping out of the scientists and military men that make up the Manhattan Projects appear unmatched throughout history.

    Of course, Feynman could be referring to the rest of the world as broken, with he and his colleagues being unscathed.

    The Illuminati Revealed

    The above image outlines the members of the Illuminati, the cabal that seeks to control the world. Last issue, we got a glimpse at these shadowy men, but this is the first (and last) real peek at who the men behind the curtain are. There is so much funny in this one page – take it in and enjoy.

    The Bionic Nazi

    von Braun was introduced to the series with a bionic arm, but now, he is “more machine than man,” to quote Ben Kenobi. von Braun’s diminishing humanity is, symbolically, a nice representation of the scientists at Los Alamos going further and further down the rabbit hole of disregard for life.

    When the Nazi in your gang is the best representative of your collective mindset, it may be time for some soul searching.

    The Golden Key, Part 2

    “For a time, we forgot forgiveness and thought only of revenge.”

    The main thrust of this issue is all about revenge; the FDR AI, as part of the Illuminati, almost took down the Projects last issue, and this issue, the scientists are out for blood. Killing isn’t just enough; there needs to be extortion, torture, even felinicide (more on that later) – despite the scientists making decisions harmful to human life at every turn, the second their lives are threatened, the kid gloves come off.

    What’s Next, a Dusty Finish?

    This wonderful panel shows Einstein using El Conquistadori’s championship belt to knock him out. As an old school pro wrestling fan, this whole scene made me giddy.

    Urinary Weaponry

    This issue features two instances of piss being a deciding factor in whether someone lives or dies. First up, it is Laika who puts the FDR AI out of commission by letting loose on his power cord.

    And then, Groves gets particularly angry when it turns out that Ingol has “marked his territory” all over his office.

    The pen might be mightier than the sword, but…well, if you can’t make a dick joke out of the start of this sentence, I can’t help you.

    Dogs Win

    When Nebehu comes face to face with Gagarin, their pets face off too, and pity the Egyptian cat, but Laika wins. Somewhere, Multiversity Editor in Chief Matthew Meylikhov is crying.

    The Golden Key Part 3

    “…and that was how we came to control it all.”

    This really does feel like an entirely new scenario for the men of the Projects. With the full support of the US Government, a covert relationship with the most powerful Soviet scientists, and a gateway to other dimensions, it is fair to say that there is nowhere this gang can’t go next.

    Five Projections

    1. Things are going to get even broader

    For a book that’s first issue ended with the reveal that its main character had actually eaten his brother, you wouldn’t think that it could get much bigger than that. At this point, nothing seems too big or too silly to pop up in the book.

    We have seen a cabal of stereotypes be destroyed in various ways (see above), talking dogs, and everything in between. The comedy is getting broader, the scope is getting bigger, and the fun is never ending. God, I love this book.

    2. The Land of the Rising Sun Will Rise

    The threat of the Japanese was dispatched quite quickly in the series, but the technological powerhouse of a nation is sure to pop up again. Because of the tenuous communist connection between the Soviets and China, and Europe being in the US’s back pocket, it seems like Japan is the logical world power to cause trouble next.

    3. Is Groves Expendable?

    This question isn’t meant to put the image of General Groves alongside Stallone, Lundgren, Van Damme and Crews, but I hope it did anyway. Groves used to be essential to this gang because he was their in with the government. However, now that the projects is funded from the President himself, is Groves still needed? How long until his “not a genius” distinction makes him the logical fat to trim? Or, has he proven his worth, and will continue to stick around and provide additional firepower?

    4. Feynman on the Rise

    Feynman is the book’s narrator and, in some ways, the most “normal” guy in the projects: he isn’t an alien, or half man/half machine, or irradiated, or a cannibal, or from an alternate dimension. He’s just a really smart (and really egotistical) dude. Sooner or later, though, his influence is going to be felt more.

    He has been described in the “cast” section as a wormholer, but that has not really been delved into quite yet. I would predict that wormholes will be a pressing concern sooner rather than later.

    What we don’t know is if his original descriptor, “Inventor of Hair Gel,” will ever come into play.

    5. To Project is to be Wrong

    I think long and hard about these projections, and most of them, at least thus far, have been almost entirely incorrect. But that is what is so fun about this book; the unexpected appear at every turn.

    But I also think that this is a prediction of the series to come: outside of the scientists themselves, everyone who has tried to stop them, or control them, or predict where their research would go has been proven wrong. Perhaps that is one of the underlying themes of the book: unless you’re a super genius, you’re lost.


    Issue #5 showed the scientists wiping out an alien civilization, and basically deciding that they were to rule the universe. Issue #9 shows the scientists wiping out a world governing organization and deciding that they are to rule the world. The parallels continue!

    Next Month

    Next month, we get an entire issue featuring this guy:

    And, to make it even more special, it is being illustrated by Ryan Browne of “Blast Furnace” and “God Hates Astronauts” fame. To say I’m excited is an understatement.

    Final Thoughts

    This was the craziest issue thus far, and with next month’s brief reprieve notwithstanding, it seems that we are on the path to even crazier times ahead.

    Thanks for reading, and please share your thoughts in the comments! See you next month!

    Brian Salvatore

    Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his daughter, or playing music with his daughter. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).


    • http://twitter.com/Agonzo1 anthonybgonzalez

      The Illuminati massacre was amazing. This Einstein is the alt-universe mad-man einstein, right? what happened to normal einstein?

      • Brian Salvatore

        He is still stuck in Albrecht’s universe, dead or alive. I suspect we’ll see him again,

    • featherbean

      At the end of the issue, Truman isn’t listed as dead. Seeing as how we don’t actually see him die, I’m not sure whether that means he’s not really dead, or if we’ll just see him come back in Oppenheimer’s psyche.

      • Brian Salvatore

        I would love to see Truman pop up inside of Oppenheimer’s mind. Great thought!

    • http://twitter.com/gaviinnansoong gaviinnansoong

      Great article as always. I’m a bit concerned about the guest artist around the corner though, the visual identity of this book is so strong and so unique , I’d hate to seen that lost

      • Brian Salvatore

        Browne is an amazing artist in his own right, hand picked by Pitarra for the issue, so I’m optimistic that it’ll be a pleasant reprieve, rather than a jarring fill in.

    • Kenny_Chill

      This book completely lost me. The enthusiasm I had to re-read the series from the beginning to catch up with the last few issues totally dissipated once I realized this book is a lazy man’s version of one of the more interesting times in history. At first, I was hoping the book was going to make little tweaks to historical characters and the fun would be in spotting the differences. Then I hoped maybe the war with the aliens was going to be an allusion to something else in history. None of that is there. This book is just a retelling of The Authority with less interesting characters. I tried giving it a shot, but after 9 issues, a book is what it is and this book is awful.

    • Frank

      I’m a big fan of alternate history, but I’m pretty disappointed that the entire Eisenhower administration was skipped over. Did team MP put their backing behind Kennedy and get him elected 10 years early?

      I do think it’s funny how the conspirators always end up doing their dirty work themselves. It’s a pretty good fiction trope where the bad guys have done such terrible things that they can’t rely on underlings to do the grunt work.

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