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The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 1: Science Bad

The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 1: Science, Bad - Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra What an awesome read! Jonathan Hickman creates a sort of bad boys of science - re-imagining some of the greatest minds of the 20th century (Einstein, Feynman, Oppenheimer, von Braun, and Fermi) as eccentric geniuses with license from the government to work on fringe science projects under the guise of national security. The Manhattan Project we all know and love, one of the greatest directed scientific undertakings of all time, is merely a front, a paltry exercise of intellect, compared to the deeper projects underneath. The drive to develop the world's first atomic weapons masks explorations of interdimensional space-time, the creation of artificial intelligence and contact with alien species under the willful direction of General Leslie Groves.

Manhattan Projects is a darker revision to accepted history and if some of these monolithic figures of science are sacred to you, it might be difficult to swallow an Oppenheimer torn by schizophrenia or a drunk Einstein with a very dark secret - in fact, some of the characterizations may border on scientific sacrilege, if such a thing exists. However, the sheer destructive and wanton glee that fills these pages easily makes up for such slights to these father figures of science. Projects has a lot of the same darkly comic science fictiony humor that Mars Attacks and other zany classics like Dr. Strangelove possess in that they're all colorful, crazy, ludicrous and in the end, absolutely great entertainment. Threading the way throughout, giving you a sort of compass for this strangely different world of craziness is the steadfast Richard Feynman, who, in an ironic twist people familiar with the legend will appreciate, turns out to be the only sane and normal one in the bunch, aghast at the insanity and narcissism he encounters upon being drafted into a community of thinkers he spent his life revering.

This first volume spends a lot of time getting the reader acquainted with the various characters in their new roles and introducing you to the wider world of the projects. It's an absolutely phenomenal introduction that provides a captivating hook that leaves you dying for more. Nick Pitarra's artwork is gorgeous and the absolute equal to the narrative skill of Hickman. Fun for students of science and history, Projects is witty and deep with historical and scientific contextualization. To get the most out of this, you should probably have at least a rough idea of who all the people are and at least a Wikipedia knowledge of the Manhattan Project itself. Do yourself a favor and learn the background and you'll see just how genius this series is.