ADVANCE REVIEW: Manhattan Projects #3

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The solicit for Manhattan Projects #3 sums it up pretty well:

THE BOMB
The Death of FDR leaves the Manhattan Projects in chaos as questions of leadership arise. The world’s first Artificial Intelligence is created 40 years ahead of schedule. And whatever happened to the THIRD atomic bomb developed by Oppenheimer and his unparalleled Science Team?

I’ve reviewed the previous two issues of Jonathan Hickman’s new book (you can click and read the reviews for Issue 1 and Issue 2) and I’ve got to say this is still a very trippy book. It takes history and uses the actual names, places, and events and amps them up to 11 with a sci-fi twist. I don’t want to give any more away than the solicit info does, but it’s a very odd issue. FDR does indeed die, and as you can guess he is tied in to the part about the world’s first artificial intelligence.

Harry Truman gets pulled out of a very odd ritual at the Masonic lodge and is told he’s the next President.  He finds himself in a meeting with Robert Oppenheimer, who if you remember from issue 1 is actually the evil twin brother of Robert, and learns about what the Manhattan Projects really is and what they have been working on. This is pulled slightly from history. Truman didn’t know about the atomic bomb until well after he became president. Truman learns about the bomb and is faced with the decision of whether or not to drop it on Hiroshima.

This argument is where the power struggle takes part and much of the issues tension and action takes place. While the argument about dropping the bomb goes on, the other part of the story dealing with the artificial intelligence is taking place as well. I found part of the AI segments a bit unsettling considering what they were doing and showing. It is definitely a bold and gutsy bit of storytelling, but actually showing some of the things going on in a few of the panels could be borderline poor taste to some considering the historical events and people.

Bottom Line: This issue really seems to ramp up the pace of the book. I’ve been getting a slight Venture Brothers vibe off of these books, I don’t know if it’s how some of the characters act or the art but I get the Team Venture vibe which is a really good thing. I am really enjoying Nick Pitarra’s art on the book and the way he and colorist Jordie Bellaire handle flashback scenes. The way Hickman writes Einstein coupled with Pitarra’s art has me wanting an Einstein spin-off or at least an issue devoted to him. It seems like the first three issues are action-y set-up for what’s going to follow in further issues. Reading the little postscript bubble after the last panel, I have no clue where Hickman will go with this but I am going along for the ride. I give the third issue of Manhattan Projects 5/5

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