Think Tank: Volume 1 collects the first four of a new series from Top Cow top dog Matt Hawkins and artist Rahsan Ekedal. Premiering in August and currently slated for 10 issues, Think Tank provides a fresh approach to the scientific superhero archetype in its portrayal of conflicted protagonist David Loren.
Instead of delivering a billionaire superhero surrounded by amazingly unbelievable technology who faces off against equally unbelievable villains, Hawkins and Ekedal deliver a protagonist who is equally thrilled and appalled by his own creative genius and the military applications of his inventions. A scientist at a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) think-tank, Loren falls into a “Schindler-esque” moral dilemma and finds that he can no longer develop instruments of death and destruction for his benefactors in the United States military industrial complex.
Torn between his passion for scientific discovery and the overwhelming guilt from the deaths caused by his inventions, Loren allows himself to become unproductive until a new military handler is tasked to get him back in line using whatever means necessary.
The fact that the author himself was never a researcher in a super-classified government funded R&D lab doesn’t change the feel of authenticity behind Think Tank. The attention to detail and research into contemporary military R&D, policies, and procedures makes Think Tank convincing. The bug-sized military drones, unmanned assassin drones with facial recognition software, and the number of U.S. military golf courses may seem unbelievable except for the excellent extras in the book’s appendix that back it all up.
Hawkins states in the book’s aptly-named single appendix, “Science Class,” that “I want people to like science. It’s awesome and fun and not boring like people think.” In “Science Class,” Hawkins details his research and inspirations behind Think Tank’s inventions and technology. The great part is that he includes links to websites and articles that are the sources of his research. “Science Class” offers a look into the book’s creative process.
If you are new to Think Tank, this paperback is a great opportunity to catch up on an entertaining and compelling series. But if you’ve kept up with the series, then the appendix and variant cover collection are definitely worth a look. Personally, I can’t wait to see what else Hawkins and Ekedal have in store for this title.