A Reason to Love Science Again
The only technologies that people seem to get a rise out of these days are cell phone related. No one is jumping up and down for announcements at NASA like we used to or excited to find out about suits that can turn you invisible. I can’t say for sure that the invisible suits actually exist, but my pick for the Alternative Comics Beat this week sure makes me hope so. Matt Hawkins wanted to create a comic book series this past year that made people like science. After reading four issues of Think Tank from Top Cow and Image Comics, I’d say he’s done what he set out to do.
Think Tank – The Premise
David Loren is one of the top researchers for the government’s weapon defense programs and is possibly the smartest person on the planet. The only problem is that he’s sick of inventing things that kill people and he wants out. With nothing but his superior wits on his side, David must escape his government captors and finally reach freedom.
If he doesn’t escape it could mean imprisonment and torture, and then there’s no way he’s going to get back into his regular habit of playing video games. The story is super science, comedy, and rock star lifestyle all rolled into one heck of an entertaining comic book series.
The series was created by Matt Hawkins (writer) and Rahsan Ekedal (artist). Hawkins’ writing and dialogue feel genuine for each character and David quickly becomes likable within a few panels. The story is told mostly in captions through David’s thoughts (or possibly a journal) but it never becomes too bogged down with words.
Ekedal’s artwork is very fitting for this title. He has a way of portraying eyes on each character that make you believe that they’re really emoting. It doesn’t feel like a drawing of someone’s response, it feels like an animated photograph. It was also a really bold choice to go with black and white for the book, but it really works and lets you focus on Ekedal’s style.
What Makes It Different
I’ve always had a love of characters in fiction that use their brains instead of brawn. Doctor Who, Egon Spengler, and Donatello (TMNT not the artist) are a few fictional characters that I always sympathized with. Hawkins and Ekedal have taken someone who is unique purely for his intellect and love of science and made them the lead in a comic book.
Sure, Tony Stark might be a genius, but he’s also got a suit of armor. Despite having a giant I.Q., most of his problems are solved with repulsor rays. All David has to go on in Think Tank is his intelligence and his instincts. It’s a type of character in comics that often gets put on a team or is in the background but doesn’t get to play the main role often. He’s the lead because he’s an interesting character, which is what should always be put first when it comes to any kind of storytelling.
Why You Should Read It
Audiences have a love of super intelligent and witty guys. If they didn’t, Iron Man wouldn’t be one of the most popular movie and comic book characters out there today. It’s important that we remember how cool science and intelligence can be. I’m no genius, far from it, but reading this book makes me interested in science again. I can’t say that I’ll be developing a mind altering gas or an app that lets me read people’s minds, but the interest is still there.
Superhero stories do offer us lots of science fiction elements, but rarely do we get a series that’s solely based on realistic backdrops and doesn’t have capes and tights in the narrative. It’s worth checking out if you’re a big fan of Tony Stark’s personality, with or without the armor.
Think Tank Vol. 1 was just released from Top Cow and Image Comics and is sold for $14.99. It’s got the first four issues and is what I’ve pretty much based this entire installment on. Those first four issues really hold together and can turn any naysayer into a fan. If you’re looking for something to add to your stack outside of the norm, Think Tank is a great alternative.
Ken Porter also writes comic books with his latest being "Ink Ribbon" from Visionary Comics.