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I am excited that with this issue, Jonathan Hickman finally propels us into the meat of the plot of this book. Two issues ago we had our first continuation of a storyline and the last issue also tied up the loose end of what happened in Germany when Werner von Braun was recruited. With this issue we carry forward and tie together both of those threads. At last! And it has definitely been worth sticking with Hickman during his setup phase.
In this issue we have the Soviet and American secret projects (The Manhattan Projects and Star City) deciding to join forces. Their countries might be ideological enemies, but these are men of science and they see such ideologies as simply standing in the way of human progress. This is especially true given the Americans’ knowledge of life beyond Earth. With this issue, Hickman makes the final push away from reality as we know it. As each issue has gone on, the plot has diverged more and more from our own. It’s was already becoming clear that this was not a book about “what if the Manhattan Projects had continued and been an even bigger secret”, no with FDR uploaded to a computer a few issues ago, it is firmly entrenched in an alternate universe. This issue cements that.
Hickman, of course, is no stranger to alternate dimensions where only a few key things are different. It was a major plot point in the Fantastic Four/FF storyline he just wrapped up in October. In fact, one of the issues even dealt with an alternate universe with a Nazi Fantastic Four. So Hickman clearly has an interest in seeing how variations in events in and around World War II lead to different outcomes.
If you have enjoyed The Manhattan Projects up until now, then it’s a no-brainer to pick up this issue. Hickman is moving briskly forward and I am looking forward to the next issue more than at any time in this series’ short history. If you’ve never read The Manhattan Projects, here’s what I recommend: the first issue is available on ComiXology for free. Go check that out, it’s very similar in tone to the entire series. Did you enjoy that? Get the rest of the issues on ComiXology or buy the first trade. You won’t be ENTIRELY lost jumping in here, but you’ll be missing out on a LOT of context. When it comes to Hickman, you really need to be careful where you jump in because he usually is spinning a lot of plates at once, plot-wise. It makes for brilliant stories, but these are stories that need to be read from the beginning. It’s a bit quirky so it’s a must-buy for fans of the series, a pretty good recommendation if you’re a Hickman fan, but I can’t universally recommend it for everyone the way I could with a good Dan Slott Amazing Spider-Man.