Think Tank is a cool, little comic by Matt Hawkins and Rahsan Ekedal. Hawkins provides the thoughtful, funny, frightening, and entertaining script, while Ekadal’s art keeps the fantastical (I hope) scenarios grounded and plausible. The premise is simple. Dr. David Loren, who is smarter than your entire graduating class combined, develops weapon tech for the US government. He has decided that he would rather not develop tools to kill people, but he is trapped in a secure base and kept under constant surveillance. The entire comic is the struggle to possibly escape, but, more likely, keep sane in an environment where science is only being used to kill.
The first trade was one of my recent favorites, and the follow-up does not disappoint at all. Think Tank juggles political thriller, science fiction, and comedy to great effect. David’s attempts at humor are juvenile, crass, and an excellent coping mechanism. The thing is, David Loren was recruited at 14 and has spent the following 14 years cut off from most of the world and working in a top secret military lab. Bad jokes (and they are awesomely bad) are the only way he can vent. The result is a book that laughs at the horror and is funnier and more tragic for it.
Speaking of tragic horror, the people who have trapped him are the sort of people who will use a high profile assassination as a diversion to draw attention from another high profile assassination. That’s just messed up. The arc of this series involves David’s attempts to develop a disease that can target a specific genetic subset of people. This would make it horribly easy to carry out genocide and ethnic cleansing. Without spoiling anything, let’s say that he is not the war criminal he seems to be.
This comic is as densely plotted as a great episode of The West Wing, and much more fun than its subject matter. The sinister bad guys and the intrepid goofball facing off over small battles and big ones is a type of story that I could read any day. The inclusion of intelligent science fiction makes this much more appealing. This is a comic that could rely on the plot and characters and it would be a straightforward recommendation, but the science in the science fiction is great.
Nearly every bit of future-tech and conceptual science is based on where we will be in one to five years. Most of the “science fiction” elements of this are either in development or being deployed right now, so think closer to one or two years for much of this. I love the fact that this is a science fiction story with nearly equal focus on good science and good fiction. Too often you just get one or the other.
If you like your fiction with a heavy dose of science (note, science should be yelled and synthesized in the style of Thomas Dolby here), check out Think Tank. It is funnier and sciencier than it has any right to be, considering how tightly plotted it is. This is a comic book that you definitely should check out. Think Tank is Aaron Sorkin sci-fi, with less preaching and more flawed characters. This is what you want out of science fiction.
Four and a Half Fly-Sized Surveillance Drones That Are Watching You Right Now out of Five