I Hate Albert Einstein
by Philip R. Whigham
So you think you know the history of the Atomic Bomb? Jonathan Hickman begs to differ. The Manhattan Projects tells the secret history of America’s nuclear program; a history complete with cyborg Nazis, alien genocide, and Imperial Japanese Kamikaze Robots.
WARNING- This section will contain mild spoilers.The book introduces us to a J. Robert Oppenheimer (the so-called “Father of the Atomic Bomb”) that is insane. There are several Oppenheimers inside the genius’s cracked psyche, each distinctly, ethereally rendered by Nick Pitarra’s kinetic pencils. Oppenheimer is interviewed by General Leslie Groves who recruits the physicist to be the head of the Manhattan Projects. We soon learn atomic bombs are merely the cover for what can only be called “Mad Science.”
We’re shown the real life personalities of the real world Manhattan Project, but they’re all distorted as if through a fun house mirror. Each scientist is cast in a monstrous light. Richard Feynman is portrayed as a narcissistic egomaniac. Enrico Fermi is a sniveling, inhuman yes-man. The most shocking portrayal is Albert Einstein. Hickman’s Einstein is a bastard and a vicious one at that.
Don’t worry Einstein lovers, Albert’s character is redeemed (sort of) in a satisfying twist that made me love the treatment of the beloved scientist.
The first volume chronicles the real purpose behind the gathering of the 20th century’s greatest minds: to research the weird phenomena of the world and figure out how to weaponize them in defense of America. Sample projects include: harnessing psychic energies, trans-space-time-dimensional teleportation, artificial intelligence (in the 1940’s!) and other, even more bizarre projects.
Although Hickman gives you plenty of reason to hate EVERYONE in this book, his character and plot development, and sharp dialogue keep you riveted, and Pitarra’s penciling style is fresh and interesting. The colorist team deserves a healthy amount of praise as well. The use of red and blue to denote good and evil fits so thematically perfectly with this story of dark patriotism, and is visually stunning.
Album- Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine– The seminal German electronic band’s masterpiece album is a desolate affair with sharply chanted mechanical lyrics and retro-futuristic synthesizers. You could imagine hearing the minimalist beeps and mechanized rhythms echoing through the halls of The Manhattan Projects.
Beer- Harpoon Brewery’s UFO Hefeweizen- Lift a toast to Evil Albert Einstein with this clean, refreshing American wheat ale. This sci-fi themed beer is a citrusy take on a classic German style.
Comic- The Manhattan Projects vol. 1: Science Bad- Volume one collects Image Comics’ issues 1-6 of this disturbingly good tale of science-gone-wrong. I purchased my copy for $9.95 at Acme Superstore in Longwood, FL.