Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Manhattan Projects 20, originally released April 23, 2014.
“Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds.”
Robert Oppenheimer, actual American History
Patrick: J. Robert Oppenheimer repeated this phrase, which he had read in the Bhadavad Gita, when we witnessed the first test of the atomic bomb. This is recorded in actual history text books, and widely believed to be true, but what exactly he meant by invoking the passage remains up to interpretation. Is he calmly asserting his own will over the strength of human life? Is he mourning his eternal loss of innocence? The odd syntax and the double verb make it an ungainly sentence, and speaking it aloud feels just as strange as the realization itself. Manhattan Projects has long been a series about an alternate American History, but this is the first issue to make a point of a similarity between all universes: Robert Oppenheimer is the face of evil.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing The Manhattan Projects 17, originally released January 1st, 2014.
Taylor: One of the more amazing things about evolution is its ability to create creatures that are perfectly adapted to their environment. For example, take the Great White Shark. It can smell a single drop of blood in Olympic sized swimming pool. It re-grows a tooth whenever one falls out. And it can also propel its massive body above water in order to capture cute little seals. The animal is basically a killing machine that can’t be stopped by any natural force. By comparison, you have to wonder if humans have been given the same treatment by nature. We make a lot of mistakes, we fart, and even though our brains are amazing, you have to wonder sometimes if they couldn’t be better. In Manhattan Projects 17, Einstein asks these same questions and the result is a creation made not by evolution, but science. The question is, is it as perfect as its creators hoped it would be? Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing The Manhattan Projects 16, originally released November 13th, 2013.
Taylor: You know that one picture of Einstein, the one where he’s looking at the camera and playfully sticking his tongue out at the camera? Of course you do — of all the hundreds of pictures of Einstein that exist, that particular portrait sticks out in our collective consciousness. There are probably several reasons for that, but perhaps one of the most powerful is that the picture portrays the author of the general theory of relativity in the way we would like to think he existed. With his frizzy white hair and iconic mustache, Einstein cuts a figure that is both endearing and intelligent. We like to think of Einstein, the grand scientist, as having a playful and childlike streak because it makes him lovable and human, rather than untouchable and superhuman. In this way, we all liken ourselves to Einstein. If that zany dude can revolutionize the world, why not me? However, this disregards the real Einstein, who was often angry and frustrated with himself and the science he devoted his life to. But which of these pictures of Einstein is more accurate and, more importantly, does it matter?
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Manhattan Projects 15, originally released October 9th, 2013.
Patrick: Manhattan Projects is a series of many conceits. Writer Jonathan Hickman is a master at this sort of thing, distorting history and reality in a way that only he could. Every warped fact and twisted historical personage is filtered through his unique perspective. The very first issue of this series introduced the weirdest of all Manhattan Projects conceits — the devouring of Robert Oppenheimer by his brother Joseph. Any time we deal with that information, such as in the “part one” of the Finite Oppenheimers story back in April, that perspective gets EVEN WEIRDER. The whole of reality is reduced to the consciousness of one psychotic cannibal in the midst of a cognitive civil war. It’s exactly as crazy as it sounds. Continue reading →