Comic Review: Think Tank: Creative Destruction #1

Think Tank: Creative Destruction #1
Written by Matt Hawkins
Art by Rahsan Ekedal
Cover by Rahsan Ekedal
Top Cow
Release Date: April 6, 2016
Cover Price: $3.99

Think Tank: Creative Destruction #1 lives up to its name: heavy on smarts, and slow moving. Like any well-crafted, complex but believable sci-fi book or movie, this comic doesn’t stop to explain itself. The reader is expected to keep up with overflowing technical dialogue, while the plot slowly lumbers forward.

This first issue establishes a cast of characters and threads the web of motivations that connects them, but there’s no real action until the final frames, when a mysterious event establishes a mystery that needs solving. Did we need an entire issue of set-up? The Think Tank context deserves explanation, but we get that in the two-page black and white introduction. The next twenty-five pages would have benefited from a few more plot points.

In addition to the well-crafted and unapologetically high-tech prose (readers unfamiliar with DARPA and Faraday Cages will be left in the dust), Think Tank draws strength from its timeliness. References to Kylo Ren and the Flint, Michigan, water crisis set the story firmly in the present day and invest it with relevance. For all we know, these panels show us events that are really happening behind closed doors at this very moment. The military R&D technology discussed here seems almost possible, and top secret cyber-attacks are plausibly covered up as industrial accidents. After the story ends, a reference page lists real-world websites and videos that provide further detail about the technology referenced within the story.

The most artistic moment of this issue may have been accidental. The main character, Dr. David Loren, a wunderkind scientist, says “I really like sex.” On first reading, this self-evident statement might be a deft revelation of the main character’s naiveté. He was “recruited by DARPA at age 14. Got his first doctorate before he could drink”¦” so he rushed through college and grad school with people four-plus years older than him, ahead of the curve intellectually, but surely behind the curve physically.

Now, at age twenty-something, he’s dating a sexy CIA agent named Mirra Sway. His declaration about fornication might reveal his newness to the carnal experience, which would be a realistically awkward and endearing character trait. However, a few pages later he blurts out, “I’ve never had a deaf girl,” indicating many notches on his belt, so maybe “I really like sex” was just the crass boast of a cocky Casanova. Is Dr. Loren just a Tony Stark knock off? The latest super-genius, wise-guy, lady killer? Download some free back issues of Think Tank from the Top Cow website and decide for yourself.

Overall, the concept is brainy and the story is well-produced, even if the plot moves slowly. It’s not perfect, but I’m looking forward to the sequel, available from Image Comics on May 11.

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