I’ve picked up the first three issues of The Manhattan Projects, written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Nick Pitarra, and I am finding it absolutely delightful. The premise is pure alternate nuclear history joy: “What if the research and development department created to produce the first atomic bomb was a front for a series of other, more unusual, programs? What if the union of a generation’s brightest minds was not a signal for optimism, but foreboding? What if everything . . . went wrong?” (from the cover). Already in the first three issues, a insane Robert Oppenheimer suffers from multiple personality disorder, and gets to mow down killer Japanese samurai robots
Wernher von Braun has a robotic arm, Richard Feynman is a narcissistic pretty boy, Harry Daghlian is an irradiated skull, F.D.R. becomes the world’s first artificial intelligence (“We have nothing to fear but. . . ourselves” are his first posthuman words), and, as Chris Sims has pointed out in an early review, “Albert Einstein is The Manhattan Projects’ Wolverine. . . . Seriously: Einstein is the sensational character find of 2012.” (Wired also has a review and an interview with Hickman here.) And perhaps the least compelling aspect of the book so far is the end of its third issue, which reimagines Hiroshima in a darkly humorous fashion. I’m really looking forward to continue reading this.