What I Read in May ‘17
So this month contains massive spoilers if you haven’t read the books I’m talking about. Go do so, or don’t. But I truly recommend you do.
The Manhattan Projects Volume 1 (w/ Jonathan Hickman a/ Nick Pitarra)
I think it’s safe to assume that I’ve found a new writer to follow in Jonathan Hickman. This is the third book in a row I’ve read by him that I absolutely love. So with that out of the way let’s discuss the book. The series revolves around the scientists of the Manhattan Projects. Sure the world knows that the Manhattan Project was responsible for creating the atomic bombs that ended WWII. But this is that was just the beginning and the cover story for what they were really doing. The cast of characters include:
Joseph Oppenheimer: Robert Oppenheimer’s psychotic twin brother. Joseph has killed and consumed his brother and taken his place in the Manhattan Projects. Joseph maintains multiple personalities of his own and of those that he has consumed.
Albrecht Einstein: Albrecht is the Albert Einstein from an alternate dimension that has assumed Albert’s place after arriving here. Albert is current trapped on the other side of his dimensional door.
Richard Feynman: Super genius that works closely with Albrecht. Has an ego to match his IQ. The youngest of the group.
Enrico Fermi: Super intelligent Italian scientist with a not so human genome.
Harry Daghlian: Poor Harry is a walking ball of radiation. He’s still super smart but will kill anyone nearby if he doesn’t wear his protective suit.
Wernher Von Braun: This guy is a German rocket scientist with only one obsession in life, to build rockets and leave orbit. He doesn’t care about anything else besides his rockets. Nazis, Americans, Russians, doesn’t matter Wernher just wants to build his rockets.
Leslie Groves: The American general in charge of the Manhattan Projects. He’s not as smart as the rest of the guys on this list, but he knows people and politics. He also enjoys bombs.
FDR: Franklin D. Roosevelt was used as the basis for the first Artificial Intelligence supercomputer after his death.
Harry S. Truman: The American President and not overly fond of the Manhattan Projects.
Now that we got the characters out of the way. The first volume is essentially setting up the recruitment of the individual scientist for the Projects. Starting with Robert Oppenheimer, or rather who we the reader and Leslie Groves believes to be Dr. Robert Oppenheimer is really his psychotic twin brother, Joseph. Unknown to everyone involved, Joseph had killed and eaten Robert so that he could “become both halves of the world.” Then we meet Wernher Von Braun as he is being fitted with a new robotic arm while having a chat with Adolf Hitler about building rockets for the Third Reich. Next we meet Mr. Feynman reciting his morning ritual “Good morning, Mr. Feynman. You’re smart. You’re handsome. You’re a very special person.” This is might be a form of OCD, but I know very little about the real Mr. Feynman. He believes himself to be a perfect person. And he is volunteered to go to Nazi Germany and recruit qualifying scientist for the Manhattan Projects before the Russians get to them. And this is when Wernher Von Braun is recruited. Harry Truman is tracked down during a Masonionic Orgy so that he can be sworn in as the President of the United States while FDR’s body is transported to the Manhattan Projects to be linked with their experimental supercomputer. Truman is told about the atomic bombs by Oppenheimer and Groves about 2 minutes before their set to drop. Truman gave the order to abort the mission. Groves drops the bomb anyways. After that, we meet aliens. Unfortunately they aren’t the ones the people in power are used to dealing with. These guys are hostile. Things get lost in translation and Oppenheimer eats one. Meanwhile Feynman and Einstein have figured out how to unlock Einstein’s door. We also learn that Einstein is an imposter, Albrecht, from another reality that came through the first time our Albert opened the door and strand our Albert on the other side. A diplomatic team is set to the aliens to reach a peaceful end of hostilities. It ended in genocide. Under orders a disposable character breaks Dr. Daghlian’s containment suit providing a lethal dose of radiation to all of those in the vicinity. Oppenheimer discovers how to use Einstein’s door. Clearly I’m interested in how this continues. 5/5.
The Manhattan Projects Volume 2 (w/ Jonathan Hickman a/ Nick Pitarra)
This volume starts off with the story of Helmutt. Helmutt was a scientist working under Von Braun to make the Nazi’s rockets. Helmutt somehow survived the Allied assault on the labs and was captured by the Soviets and taken to their, Manhattan Projects equivalent, Star City. He works long and hard and is promised his freedom if he succeeds. The colonel, Korolev, even tells him that he will be free to go after he returns from a trip. Unfortunately from Helmutt that trip was to meet with the aliens that visit earth every 10 years. The visit that ended in Oppenheimer eating the lead alien. Colonel Korolev never returned from that trip. His replacement, Minister Dmitry Ustinov, informs Helmutt that he noticed a signed order granting Helmutt his freedom on the desk. It is Helmutt’s good luck that Korolev did not turn them in before his trip, huh? Otherwise Helmutt would be burdened with the illusion of freedom. Better to be able to see the chains that bind him. Oh and by the way Helmutt, The Soviets are now actively working with the Manhattan Projects and Von Braun, your abusive psycho ex boss. A New World Order is established that threatens the real power brokers and they have their inside man, AI FDR, turn all automated security against The Manhattan Projects/Soviet Alliance. Our protagonist survive and after much blood shed have rid themselves of all opposition, including the POTUS Harry Truman. They immediately get their hooks into a young JFK and perpetuate their bogus “Cold War” with the Soviets in the name of science. Robert Oppenheimer’s consciousness starts a Civil War in the mind of Joseph Oppenheimer in our final act. What can I say? I’m hooked. 5/5.
The Manhattan Projects Volume 3 (w/ Jonathan Hickman a/ Nick Pitarra)
This volume starts with the story of Harry Daghlian’s transformation into a walking radioactive skeleton and his budding friendship with Enrico Fermi. Then we go into the MP in their conference room on the surface of the moon, discussing what they should do next. And Enrico decides he’s done playing human and throw Harry into low orbit around the moon and attacks the rest in hopes of preventing humanity from developing interstellar travel. This plan does not end the way Enrico would like. This plan ends with Enrico in chains and Einstein holding a chainsaw. They bury Enrico and Einstein and Fenyman dig him up to begin Oppenheimer’s Project Gaia. Oppenheimer really starts manipulating those in power. JFK feels threatened by the Soviet involvement in the Manhattan Projects and tries to shut them down. The Civil War of Oppenheimer’s mind rages on. By this time the art style is starting to get to me and I’m craving a bit of a visual change but nothing else on my plate seems like a good fit at the moment. 4/5.
The Manhattan Projects Volume 4 (w/ Jonathan Hickman a/ Nick Pitarra)
So Einstein and Richard have been using the door to access alien worlds to gather specimens for the Gaia project. They’ve been Frankenstein-ing together the perfect life-form. The MP scientist are in a holding cell. And this perfect life-form has accidentally been released and is killing the occupying forces. Oppenheimer offers release for those scientist willing to work with him. Einstein jumps at the opportunity. The life-form is killed by the occupying General, who offers Groves his command back, because he realizes that there are bigger, badder and uglier things out there to fight and kill. The Oppenheimer Civil War comes to an end, with Joseph as the victor. As he claims victory he is shot in the head by Albert Einstein. Albert has finally made his way home after being stranded by Albrecht. After drinking and bonding over shared experiences the Einsteins decide to travel the Frontier together and seeing where the door will take them. I love the ambiguous ending to Volume 4. More volumes to go. 5/5.
Again the list is real short because I’ve been busy and little time for reading awesome stuff to share with you. I’m not scheduled to have so many demands on my time next month. So questions, comments and recommendations in the space below, please and thank you. Once again I’ll be back in June with another round of reads.