Think Tank [Shotgun Blurbs]

Think Tank
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.


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