Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Manhattan Projects #4

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Nick Pitarra

Since this series began, we've only seen Albert Einstein sitting in front of an obelisk studying it.  Finally, we get to see what the purpose of this object, which does remind me a little of 2001, actually is.  And, as has become typical in this series, it's not exactly what you would have expected, even though the device's secrets echo some of the events of the first issue.

The Manhattan Projects is about the various secret sides of the famous war initiative that gave us the atomic bomb.  Hickman is playing with a cast of historical figures, but has twisted all of them into strange and bizarre characters.  J. Robert Oppenheimer is really his twin brother.  FDR is not dead, but is now the first artificial intelligence.  Things like this are common in Hickman's playground.

This issue opens with a visit from alien beings in the desert of New Mexico.  This apparently happens every decade, and on hand to greet the visitors are Manhattan Projects director General Leslie Groves, Oppenheimer, and representatives from the Soviet Union, Germany, and somewhere else.  The only thing is, it's not the usual visitors, but people from another alien race that conquered them, who have an offer for Earth.

The rest of the issue is concerned with Einstein and his device.  I like the way that Hickman has used each issue so far to explore a different aspect of the Projects, without yet giving us a notion of a larger plot or story-line.  Instead, much like his earliest issues of Fantastic Four, it seems that he is just taking his time laying the groundwork for a gigantic tale.  It works here.

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