Writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Nick Pitarra brought the world of the weird alternate history of the Image Comics series The Manhattan Projects to life, a world where Robert Oppenheimer was killed, eaten, and replaced by his psychotic twin brother Joseph, Albert Einstein was replaced by an evil alternate dimensional version of himself, General Leslie Groves believes in blowing things up more than anything else, and a host of other historic figures generally act like awful people in a world full of awful people.
However, the people who really run the world don’t much care for that sort of thing.
The thing is, there really aren’t too many sympathetic figures in the world of The Manhattan Projects, so why worry about the good guys winning? That really isn’t this kind of series. Harry Truman spends almost every appearance he makes in the book wearing outlandish versions of the Freemason’s robes. FDR had his mind downloaded to a computer after his death. In the history of this world, the presidency eventually skips Truman right to JFK. Super-science of the most absurd kind happens, so a Russian dog that went into space and came back able to talk isn’t much to worry about.
The thing here is Groves and the Project reaching out the hand of friendship in secret to form an alliance with their Soviet counterparts. That would make it the best and worst time for the world’s secret masters, led by Truman and the Roosevelt AI, to strike. These are scientists who want to do whatever they want versus the old rulers who want to keep them under control. Who knows how it will turn out?
Actually, you can probably guess.
And in the end, it looks like Robert Oppenheimer might be finding his way back from his brother’s mind.
This book continues to be a fun ride, even with a distinct lack of people to cheer on. It becomes more of how the Projects will succeed, not if. That works for a series like this.
Eight and a half out of ten genuinely heroic cosmonauts.