12.04.13 [Weekly Reviews]
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Think Tank #11 (Image/Top Cow): Matt Hawkins and Rahsan Ekedal really amp up their bold approach to speculative fiction in this issue. While it’s all based on real-world tech R&D and authentic tradecraft, it leaps from those origins toward a startling showdown with China. Political pundits and intelligence analysts in-the-know are betting that the “next” next global hotspot will not be the Middle East, but probably some dispute (Taiwan, North Korea) involving China and the general South China Sea Region. Hawkins peppers the story with factoids and details that ring true (not just about the cool tech on display, but about how money talks, or our modern surveillance state, or how to navigate internationally) because, well, they are. The transparency of the research makes for a very satisfying read. The final shot is a nice callback to a historical event, like the BSG homage that preceded it. Now, I was perfectly happy with the black and white art, but I’ll admit it will be a fun treat to see Ekedal’s work in full color when Season 2 hits. As a side note, it’s interesting to see the creators openly address sales, jumping on points, and roadblocks around consumer perception. I wonder if some of these bold storytelling choices are also meant to address that. They’re stripping away the excuses, so if you’re not buying this now, you’d better start soon! Grade A.