Where do I start? This series takes place in an alternate reality or highly fantastical and fictionalized version of the post World War II era. As you probably know, the Manhattan Project was the top secret government R&D... project... to develop the atomic bomb. It brought together some of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th century from all over the globe. In Jonathan Hickman's comic series, these scientists are not only geniuses, but incredibly eccentric and downright mad: Robert Oppenheimer is actually his evil twin, a cannibal with split personalities, Joseph Oppenheimer; Enrico Fermi is an alien drone in human guise, sent to monitor the potential threat of a human race spreading out into the stars; Albert Einstein... well, that's him on the left.
|When not enjoying science and whiskey, Einstein likes to channel his inner Bruce Willis|
The basic premise is that these historically based super-minds don't stop at atomic weaponry, but plan to take humanity to the next stage of evolution and galactic presence with their research. In their quest for progress, they must contend with well established alien empires, as well as Earth's pre-existing power structure which consists of kings, presidents, commercial conglomerates, and the Illuminati.
This series is weird and over-the-top. The artwork is good, and the action shines when there is actually a tangible threat to the scientific cabal's plans. The first volume is the weakest of the three, being a little inefficient in its character development, and the plot doesn't hit its stride until the middle of volume two. Generally, I feel that at times the series tries so hard to come off as original and/or provocative that it simply becomes goofy. For example, in the first volume, the Japanese army uses "death buddhists" that mentally power a gateway from point A to B, called a "torii". At no point does the author attempt to explain what death buddhists are, or... ANYTHING about them. Nor is there an explanation for Yuri Gagarin's talking dog, or why the Russian minister in charge of Star City is a talking brain in a vat.
And yet I read on. This series has my continued curiosity because it's ultimately fun and, I dare say, stimulating reading, full of violence and very odd, yet mostly effective humor.