Science. Bad. The Manhattan Projects.

It's yet another case of how-did-I-get-started-reading-this-itis (and I honestly cannot blame this one on my Goodreads buddies): The Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra.  I just finished volume four, and it's been a while since I read volume three, so I only vaguely remembered the details of everything, but ... this was was back in form (I didn't like three very much) with its signature gory style and twisted humor.  

This is not your mother's Manhattan Project.  This is an alternate, infinitely crazier version of the confluence of geniuses from whence sprang the atomic bomb.  In this America, Feynman plays straight man (in comedic terms, you dirty-minded people!) to the wild antics of Einstein, Oppenheimer, Von Braun, and their ├╝ber-muscular General Leslie Groves.  These are not the scientists you think you know--ohhhh no.  

Oppenheimer?  "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds"-Bhagavad-Gita-quoter?  Actually, this isn't Robert Oppenheimer, it's his twin brother Joseph Oppenheimer.  With a meaty twist on the split personality concept, good brother Robert mounts a war inside bad brother Joseph's brain, but Joseph is passing for good boy Robert, with no one the wiser.  He's a thoroughly messed up dude, and let's leave it at that.

Wernher Von Braun is missing most of his limbs and uses robotics to move around.

Albert Einstein zips into an alternate dimension and trades places with his multiverse version Albrecht Einstein, a rather nasty chap who lacks any moral compass.  Zip.  Nada.  Zilch.

Harry Daghlian, who actually did accidentally irradiate himself in our history, does not die of his accident, but instead dons a special radiation suit.  In the comics he looks something like this:

which is pretty awesome.

There's also a brain in a jar but I cannot for the life of me remember who that is--a little help, anyone?

Toss in a supercomputer loaded with FDR's personality, the Illuminati, and a Freemason Harry S Truman who engages in orgies at the White House, and you've got a smidgen of the crazy awesomeness of The Manhattan Projects.

In volume four, Joseph Oppenheimer has led a coup along with General Westmoreland, who generally dresses and acts like Rambo-meets-Colonel Kurtz, and wears the ears of his enemies around his neck.  The rest of the scientists are imprisoned at Los Alamos, and Westy is interrogating them in exceedingly painful ways.  Thankfully, or unthankfully, depending on how you look at it, a giant blue alien with four brains escapes, thus allowing the scientists to escape.

Did I mention that this alien talks like a dudebro, man, and just wants everyone to chill?  It's a pretty hilarious mashup.  In the ensuing mayhem, look for a cameo by Nick Pitarra standing next to (I think) Frederick Terman.  

This volume is so much better than volume two, They Rule, where I seriously thought about abandoning the series.  Although there's still a lot of crazy stuff going on here, the humor has returned, and that's honestly the best part about this series.

That, and the naked Harry S Truman parading around the Oval Office in full secret society regalia.  And evil Albert Einstein.


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