The Manhattan Projects is nearly as good as the first volume. Nearly. By derailing into a power struggle between traditional sources of power and the scientists, who'd rather ignore the Cold War in their work, I felt like Hickman was getting off track of the things that made the first volume so successful. And it's really disappointing that the end result doesn't seem to do much to change the status quo. I've seen at least one other reviewer suggest that it was done, more than anything, to free Hickman's hands for later storytelling development without having to stop and explain each one, and I'm glad he's thinking ahead there. But that doesn't make it as fun to read. That said, including Yuri Gagarin and Laika was completely brilliant. And yes, I'm still hooked by this very odd series.