And each story arc has us walking through significant periods of history, but with a focus on what could have been happening in the world of science. Of course things have been getting progressively crazy with each issue and but now we're pretty far off the path of true history. But at the same time we keep roping in big events and just exploring how our alternate scientists handle things.
And this third volume of the series has them going on a completely different path - one that perhaps embraces the full potential of science without the restrictions of governments and politics and all that nasty stuff. Or at least that's what they hope will happen. As pure as science itself may be, this book continues to remind us that humans - and other sentient lifeforms - are inevitably flawed and prone to mistakes.
Synopsis: The Manhattan Projects Vol. 3 - Building is a compilation of issues 11-15 of the series as written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Nick Pitarra.
As of the end of the last book, our science geniuses have managed to survive the all-out assault of the Illuminati. They maintain control over the FDR AI and now it just becomes a question of what to do next. And with the meddling world leaders out of the way, the answer is pretty much whatever they want. And so this collection has them coming up with a master plan that's pretty much for all of humanity - to make the world a better place whether they like it or not.
And thus Oppenheimer works out four main projects for everyone to work on. Project Ares will focus on the stars and exploring space. Project Vulcan will work towards finding a solution to the planet's energy problems. Project Gaia will focus on humanity itself and finding a way to push our limits and make people better. And lastly there's Oppenheimer's project - Project Charon. But this is a secret from all the others and the one that Oppenheimer expects to use to control all the other projects and thus make him master of all. But that assumes that the war of personalities within his head turns out how he expects it as well.
I won't lie - the on-going way inside Oppenheimer's head is probably one of the most exciting part of this series. And I say this despite teleporting samurai and a president turned into a pre-digital computer AI. And it's a crazy, crazy world that is where the use of blue and red shading is most striking since it perfectly illustrates the factions in his head. And you never really know how things will turn out as it has all the ebb and flow of an actual war. And like in a real war, it's hard to tell who's winning and which side you might actually want to succeed.
I've really developed a love for Harry Daghlian. Despite him being an irradiated skeleton in a containment suit, he's oddly adorable and the explorations of his character really paint him as a guy with a rather poetic soul. And his relationship with Enrico Fermi is quite a touching one, in a way, despite the fact that Fermi is actually an alien. So yeah, it totally made sense that the two of them were working on Project Ares together.
And then you have Albrecht Einstein, who is an alternate version of Albert Einstein who is still pretty smart but also pretty pragmatic about the physical stuff. In addition, they have him doing things that are pretty gross and pretty intense, but it all makes sense. And this felt like an interesting approach to things. More might react violently to unusual depictions of such a well-known historical figure (sorry rest of the team!) by creating an alternate version of him that's quite quirky in terms of his personality. But hey, he's still great!
But really, this book starts off with the feeling that YES! SCIENCE! ACHIEVEMENTS! But at the same time you still have a bunch of guys taking on some pretty big problems and doing the best that they can. And while that can be great with everyday things, but with the scope and scale of their goals, even the slightest mistake can be quite catastrophic. And as is the nature of this book, the stories continue to have an undercurrent of tragedy that is bound to rear its head at any time.
But man the way that this story ends is pretty brilliant. And also pretty scary. But that's how this comic goes - nothing is sacred, no one is safe and you never know what's going to happen.
The Manhattan Projects Vol. 3 - Building is a great continuation of the story and I just love the escalation of affairs. The comic continues to feel like a major trip to crazy town but it's one that I'm happy to be along for the ride. Thus the comic gets an awesome 5 twists and turns in the Oppenheimer internal war out of a possible 5.