The last issue of Think Tank concluded Matt Hawkins’ original story plan for the miniseries. Everything wrapped up nice and neat. Dr. David Loren got the girl, escaped his personal prison, and played the military for a bunch of fools. Or did he? The last panel of the previous issue revealed a huge swerve: Mirra Sway, David’s first real girlfriend, works for the CIA. It looks like David was the one being played.
Think Tank #5 is a dark issue. The idealistic, free-spirited Dr. David Loren is nowhere to be found. The story jumps forward two months after Mirra betrayed David and turned him over to the military. Now David’s a jaded and dejected workaholic who single-mindedly and unquestioningly pursues project objectives. Allegedly.
David’s eagerly developing genetic targeting and its deployment methods. He muses about drone gas attacks or lacing the water of a country with a poison that targets only certain races. You know: genocide. Like I said, this issue is dark stuff. David and General Clarkson rationalize developing this technology by comparing it to nuclear proliferation. We develop it to counterbalance our enemies who are also developing it. But, of course, we’ll never use it because we’re the good guys.
Writer Matt Hawkins takes an unexpected and much more difficult path with this next story arc. Most of us probably expected Think Tank to continue its cat-and-mouse chase with David and Mirra still on the run. In fact, in my review of Think Tank Military Dossier, I stated that if it was canon, then David is fully aware of Mirra’s treachery. I wrote it off as nitpicking. Little did I know it was a giant, neon-flashing hint about where the story was heading. Well played.
David’s growing up before our eyes. Up until he met Mirra, he was too focused on his inner genius to actually live life and form meaningful relationships with others. David’s struggling with the emotional rollercoaster that most people experience in high school. Before his great escape, he was basically a 14-year-old trapped in the body of a genius DARPA scientist. Now, two months after his triumphant victory, he’s a heartbroken and humbled shell of his former self””or so he wants the military brass to believe.
Think Tank #5 firmly establishes General Clarkson as David’s arch-nemesis and intellectual equal. While she and David share off-the-chart IQ scores, their personalities are almost complete opposites. General Clarkson is an accomplished, no-nonsense, results-oriented, war hawk who wields her tactical prowess with surgical precision. She realized that in order to maximize David’s utilization, she’d have to not only monitor him, but completely humiliate him into submission. And David fell right into her trap. His antagonist is no longer a faceless military industrial complex or an outmatched Colonel Harrison. Speaking of which, Colonel Harrison and Mirra Sway, also receive some much deserved character development. In just a couple of pages, both characters become intriguing wild cards to General Clarkson’s master plan.
Artist Rahsan Ekedal continues his strong work on Think Tank with his trademark bold outlines and water-colored grayscales. He’s definitely developing a unique look that defines this series. The comic concludes with Matt Hawkins’ research notes on genetics. Did you know that you can get your DNA sequenced for less than $100? Like the tagline warns: reading this book will make you smarter. He also provides information on DNA weapons. Scary stuff.
Think Tank‘s storyline is taking the road less traveled and I’m completely hooked. In this Netflix age of instant gratification entertainment, it’s rare for me to recommend buying individual issues over waiting for the inevitable graphic novel. Hey, I prefer binging on my stories in mass chunks also. But Think Tank is a different beast. This comic series is simply too good to wait months “”- plural “”- to find out what happens next. Buy it and read it over and over again.