Best Shots Advance Reviews: MANHATTAN PROJECTS, LOST VEGAS
Don't forget to check out our advance review of the first issue of Jupiter's Legacy by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely!
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Pitarra and Jordie Bellaire
Lettering by Rus Wooton
Published by Image Comics
Review by David Pepose
'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
There are two sides to Manhattan Projects #11, one that plays straight to Jonathan Hickman's strengths, and one that shows there's still plenty of depth that this writer has barely tapped. Suspended in a solution of sci-fi-infused weirdness, Manhattan Projects #11 pulls double duty by not just setting up Hickman's future plots, but also tells a heartfelt story about two best friends.
And that science-speak certainly helps set up future conflict within this series, as well. Hickman's plans-within-plans are so detailed that it's difficult not to be impressed, so watching the inner council of the Manhattan Projects is worth the price of admission alone. Oppenheimer has long been a ticking time bomb in this series, and Hickman's sweeping ambitions for this homicidal genius is chilling because it makes so much sense. The most dangerous weapons come from previously useful ideas, so you can see how the council might go along with Oppenheimer, even as we the reader might be shouting for them to open their eyes to the danger.
While we've seen Hickman's planning skills for years, in books ranging from Fantastic Four to Avengers, I feel like sometimes people think that's all he has to offer. Manhattan Projects #11 says otherwise. It says that Hickman, especially with an artist as expressive as Pitarra, has more than just formulae and plot points in his arsenal — he also has a command of emotion and sentimentality that gives warmth to his work. It's not rocket science — it's human drama, even in the most technical of environments. It shows that that Manhattan Projects still has a lot to teach us.
Written by Jim McCann
Art by Janet K. Lee
Published by Image Comics
Review by Pierce Lydon
'Rama Rating: 6 out of 10
Jim McCann and Janet K. Lee’s space-age sci-fi adventure, Lost Vegas returns with issue two and the pace slows to throw a wrench in our protagonist, Roland’s plans. Some of the setup that was traded in for an action-packed intro shows up here. And while the familiarity of certain elements provided an easy hook for readers in issue one, it’s hard to shake the feeling that we’ve seen some of this before in other series and it was a done slightly better.
One of the most compelling parts of the world of Lost Vegas is the blob-like alien, Ink. This issue really showcases Ink’s skills as it manipulates card games and other situations to help Roland escape. Because of it’s unique body, it also allows for Janet K. Lee to explore some interesting page layouts that really evoke the tone and setting of the story.
This issue drags a bit but there are some interesting moments. It will probably be the kind of issue that reads way better in trade paperback format because you’ll immediately be able to get into the action that issues three and four are sure to offer. The art is solid. The storytelling is happening but the pacing is a letdown after an introductory issue that moved at a much quicker and exciting clip.