Published by Image Comics
Creators: Matt Hawkins & Rahsan Ekedal
What It's About: “They
can't report the truth. No one would believe it.” Think Tank is the story of David Loren, a brilliant young mind who
sold his soul to the military at age 14 to be a weapons designer contracted to
the enigmatic Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). As Loren grows
older, he becomes more mindful of his manipulative recruitment and increasingly
introspective about his existence. His self-psychoanalysis has him wondering if
his success can be considered legitimate if he’s only ever engaged in things he
knows he could do with no challenge or risk involved. What really has him
questioning his place though, is something like the dubious morality of his
predator drone algorithms, which purportedly save lives… by killing a few
others. Tired of doing the dance of justification, Loren has a radial change of
heart and decides to break out of the bureaucracy. This means dodging intricate
security protocol and a rubric of motivate/leverage/control using nothing but
his inventions and heavy doses of pattern recognition. He rebels against his
Air Force handler and rival doctors, with the aid of college sidekick Dr.
Manish Pavi, and ostensible newfound love interest Mirra Sway, in a bust out
caper rivaling the exploits of Danny Ocean.
Why You Should Buy It: Think
Tank is a treatise on challenging the ethical conundrums of modern science
and technology, but what really sells it is that it doesn’t rely on fictitious
technology. The devices that Think Tank
is chock full of are based on real world applications, like portable EMP
technology, micro-camera chameleon suits, solar weapons, mini UAV and chemical
warfare bots, along with something simply called “Metal Storm,” and other
highly efficient ways of “targeting the
many or killing the one.” Judging by his Twitter feed, writer Matt Hawkins
has a voracious appetite for real world inspiration from DARPA, NASA, RAND, and
several other sources, which are also cited in the satisfying backmatter. The
end result is a disturbing look into our culture of war, the intense scientific
subculture it creates, and the frightening capabilities we can actually dream
up and fabricate. Artist Rahsan Ekedal is astoundingly versatile, capturing
slick technology and human emotion with equal grace, then doing more with
black, white, gray, and superior lighting than many artists produce in full
color. Letterer Troy Peteri also deserves a special shout for creating an
aesthetic that feels like voyeuristically reading unauthorized journal entries.
With the first trade due out this week, it’s a perfect time to take the plunge.
Hawkins is clever with language and uses a crisp sense of insider knowledge to
create one of the smartest books currently available, all being staged in the
gray spectrum of moral flexibility thanks to Ekedal’s unique art.