Manhattan Projects #21 focuses on the distant lost mission of Laika, the Russian spacedog. Laika is pulled into the tractor beam of a nearby ship and quickly discovers that scientific missions are different in the middle of space. Taken in by the research ship of another lifeform, Laika is given a translation worm to eat and put in a pen with several other lifeforms that have been captured by the creatures who prove to be glorified space librarians. Laika must get back to her ship and find her way back to Earth.
For those not following the series, Laika can talk. This makes it easier for her to communicate with the humans in the Manhattan Projects series, and also makes it easier for her encounters with other life forms. Jonathan Hickman started the Manhattan’s Project with a loose base on history. The story has now become a far reaching odd combination of space adventure and horror comic. Ryan Browne faces the challenge this issue of illustrating a whole wealth of creature species as well as a robot, and a form of Laika not unlike that of a human female. Jordie Bellaire keeps the coloration ominously dark with bright hints of color to draw the reader’s eye.
Manhattan Projects is not a comic for readers wanting a straight forward story, nor is it a place for historical purists. Manhattan Projects #21 is a long time coming and it gave a deeper look at the life of Laika and her skills as a deep space traveler.