Monday, April 01, 2013

Think Tank #6 – One of the Best Books – The Week of March 27 in Review – Part 1 of 2

No April Fool's post this year as Lee and I have done in the past. Also, this week I have nothing as much fun as Shawn and I going back and forth raking DC over the coals.  In some ways I should thank DC for saving me money as I continue to drop more of their titles. I dropped Swamp Thing this week, after the long Snyder story. I was losing my interest in this version of the character. While this maybe a title DC will leave alone the character itself is not enough of a draw and I have no clue about the new writer. I have heard some good buzz on the guy, but I’ll wait. I also did not jump onto Batwing with the new creative team. Normally I would have loved to see what Palmiotti and Gray could do with a book but now not so much. I’m still getting too many DC books.

Now one more preamble before hitting Think Tank and why you should be reading this series is the links for next week’s books. The clean list is here provided by Cosmic Comix and the detailed madness is here provided by Midtown Comics. The top five books due out next week in my mind are Uber, Harbinger Wars, Locke and Key, Thanos Rising and Green Arrow.

Think Tank #6 is by Matt Hawkins and Rahsan Ekedal. This book I would put up there with Action Philosophers as a book that is both entertaining and educational. At the same time it is a taut thriller on the order of a Tom Clancy novel as our hero is a smart guy caught up in military adventures. Then on top of that it is a very cool almost science fiction feel to it as it takes the technology of today and sometimes pushes into tomorrow. Finally it is a character study and the story of a genius Dr. David Loren trying to make the world he lives in work.

What I love about this book is how I get wrapped up every issue in the story that is being told. In this issue we see David on the couch talking to his therapist. He recounts how he helps destabilize a military regime with some extremely cool tech. At the same time we are given some insight into how badly burnt David feels about Mirra (ex-girl friend) betraying him. Plus we get more on the longer story in this arc about David developing a way to kill people based on genetic characteristics. It is extremely entertaining, a well told story and smartly written. Buried within the story are schemes and politics and we get the idea of how malevolent our government can be (in Hawkins viewpoint and I can’t see it being wrong at some levels). The one downside to the book is the art is not that strong. Ekedal is not going to make my list of artists whose work I want to own. It is not horribly bad and it does convey the story, but it is weak especially in its consistency.  I would be shocked to hear that Marvel or DC is calling him up.  Now after trashing the poor guy I would say that I have grown used to his style on this book and find it is not a detriment to the book.

What really sets the book apart is the back matter. After reading the book Matt provides a wealth of information in four pages that talk about the stuff in the story. Not only does he give you brief highlights about the real world tech that actually exists versus what was in the comic, but he gives references and websites to go out and look up more information for yourself. I think my favorite remark this month was when Matt says “By the way, you might note that I use a lot of links from non-US websites. This is by design as our news over here is terrible. Watch the BBC news hour and you see how different the world news is compared to our Lindsay Lohan/Kim Kardashian daily updates we call news.” I couldn’t agree more and have been using other sources to check out news now more then ever.

If you are not getting this book you are doing yourself a disservice. Whether you agree with Matt’s view of the US military or not, you get directed to some really good reading material in the back matter and a comic that entertains and educates has to be a good thing. Of course I do not want to undersell how damn entertaining the story itself is and if you don’t want to learn anything else skip the back matter. The story itself is great as we see Dr. Loren is back to being the good slave for his master. At the same time he is trying to manipulate a certain military man into blowing the cover off the project because it goes against what is right and wrong even within the ethics of the military. Loren is serving and fighting back at the same time.

Buy three and give all three away and then buy the trades for yourself. 


  1. I gotta say, the quote about the BBC makes me less likely to read this. Not only does the US have several sources of news that are on par with the BBC, most notably the frequent targets of right wing attack that are PBS and NPR, but also the British press is at least as tabloid, celebrity news driven as the American press. The scandal that brought down a chunk of the Murdoch empire wasn't due to hard hitting journalists hacking government officials' cell phones. It was hacking cell phones to get salacious celebrity information and irrelevant personal information on the families of murder victims. I now have the impression that this writer is on a mission to craft a diatribe rather than a story.

  2. I think he is just making the point that we need to get news from more then one source. I personally don't follow BBC, but I do look at multiple news sources.