In this alternate reality type story of The Manhattan Projects, the famed Manhattan Project that created the atomic bomb during WWII has even more sinister projects involved with it. In this world, Oppenheimer is his evil twin, Von Braun has a robot arm, and FDR is the world’s first artificial intelligence. In this issue, the scientists take to the stars utilizing Einstein’s gateway to travel to other worlds and commit terrible acts.
The story starts off back at the negotiations between the alien visitors and the humans. Oppenheimer takes things into this own hands, and he and Leslie Groves are the only ones to leave the meeting alive. Oppenheimer then gets information from the aliens, using his own methods. With the new knowledge the group of scientists sets off to the alien homeworld, where they use Daghlian’s affliction to their benefit. As we close out the comic, the universe shudders and Oppenheimer utters the famous quote, “We have become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, though this time in a much different light.
This issue was seriously one of the craziest, but most enjoyable things I’ve read in months. There were exploding aliens at one point, and melting, irradiated, bubbling aliens at another. The fact that both occur in the span of thirty pages is just ridiculous. This was just another great installment in my favorite new ongoing series of the year.
Jonathan Hickman is writing what is easily my favorite series of the year. It’s so insane, but grounded in a weird way. While his very, very fictional take on alternate history may not be for everyone, I love it. It’s interesting to see established real-world characters and see them characterized in completely different lights and be completely different people entirely. As a fan of history, I’m a fan of The Manhattan Projects and the craziness that it encompasses. In this issue particularly, Oppenheimer was written to show his insanity, but also clarity of thought so perfectly. He does crazy things, talks with his alternate personalities, but in the end makes amazing decisions with mind-boggling information. The fact that Hickman can write a character like this, along with irradiated skulls and weapon-covered generals, is a sign of true talent.
I like how much we saw Oppenheimer in action for this issue. Ever since he was focused on in the first issue, Oppenheimer hasn’t done too much. With this issue, he took a front seat and made some of the most memorable moments and lines of the entire series. It’s great to see more of his character and the insane things that he does.
The way in which Daghlian is utilized in this issue is just great. Hickman deserves major props for coming up with such a great way to use his terrible affliction for genocide and mayhem.
I could gush about Nick Pitarra for more than a paragraph or two, but I won’t. I think his artwork shone in this issue. All the different aliens that he drew for this issue really let his imagination run wild, it seems, and the art is all the better for it. He especially makes the exploding and melting aliens look wonderful. His lines and character design make this issue a joy to look at. He is the perfect artist for The Manhattan Projects, as he draws the otherworldly happenings of the series in a realistic way, making the craziness grounded in a way.
My only complaint so far for the series is the fact that I want to know more about Fermi! Though, wanting to know more about a character is rarely a complaint for a series five issues old. This just goes to show how much I’ve been enjoying it all.
Overall, a great issue in a great series. Definitely a must-read for a fan of the series, fans of alternate history, and fans of aliens exploding.
Parental concern: Mild. Exploding aliens and some swear words.