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Review of "Think Tank #4" from Top Cow
By: Eva Jarkiewicz
Publisher: Top Cow
Year Published: 2012
Co-Creator and Writer: Matt Hawkins
Co-Creator and Artist: Rahsan Ekedal
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Editor: Matt Hawkins and Bryan Rountree
Review Rating: 10/10
The conclusion to the first arc of THINK TANK! Dr. David Loren, slacker genius, must escape the most secure facility in the world and then escape from Fort Meade in the heart of the Washington DC power corridor. The ultimate story of brains versus brawn and a commentary on America's so-called exceptionalism and military industrial complex.
"THINK TANK grabs you from the very beginning and has you begging for more by the end. A great introduction to a new character and a new world. A must-have for anyone who wants something cool... and who doesn't want that?" - ROBERT KIRKMAN (THE WALKING DEAD, THIEF OF THIEVES, INVINCIBLE)
I could very easily sum up the final issue of this first arc with two words... FANTASTIC and WOW! I actually did so when I tweeted to the co-creators after finishing reading it. But why was that my reaction? Read on!
Issue by issue this title has done nothing but raise the bar. The story has been building at a good pace, the characters have been being developed wonderfully making the reader care what happens to them next. And in this issue we get to see what they have been building to since the first page of issue one.
Having enjoyed some of Matt Hawkins' writing before, it does not surprise me that he can tell a good story, though this book outstrips anything he has done before. You can tell he loves what he is doing. That he has a sincere interest in the subject and that he doesn't want to tell the same story that you might find at any other publisher. This story is grounded in reality but leaves room for the extraordinary too.
The science class pages at the back of the book are enlightening and thought provoking, especially if you follow the links that Hawkins provides to supporting information. At first when I saw the tag line on the cover I thought it was a bit presumptuous (sorry Matt) to tell the reader "DANGER: Reading this book will make you smarter" but now four issues in I can say I am learning things from a comic book so maybe it is making me smarter.
Having discovered Rahsan Ekedal's work through Think Tank I feel comfortable in stating this is definitely an artist to keep your eye on. Ekedal continues to bring the story and characters to life. I haven't decided if it is his portrayal of the characters, capturing the expressions so perfectly, or his ability with all the technology that makes me love his work. But regardless, thank you whoever discovered his talent, this book might not be the same with a different artist partnered with Hawkins.
If you have yet to read Think Tank, it's time to get your hands on the series and get up to speed. For the ongoing reader it will be hard to wait for issue 5. Think Tank was originally scheduled to be a 4 issue series. Fortunately the response to the book has been fantastic and it has been extended now to twelve issues. But this means that we have an additional month gap between 4 and 5 as comics are solicited 3 months in advance. In the intervening month the trade pulling together issues 1-4 will be released. So as you wait for issue 5 just go back and reread the first four issues, I bet you will catch a detail or something in the art that you might have missed in earlier reading, I know I do every I go back through these books. And then in January, a week or two before issue 5 comes out, be sure to pick up Think Tank Military Dossier #1, a special issue. Be sure your local comic shop knows you want this book so that they order enough. The first 3 issues of Think Tank have been flying off shelves, you don't want to end up missing out.
As for why my first words of reaction were FANTASTIC and WOW, you will have to read it for yourself to learn that. Sorry but if I told you then you would either curse me for spoiling the issue or not bother reading it as you would know what happened. Trust me it is definitely worth the read! I am fairly sure your jaw will drop as you read issue four and see what has been building.
This book and Matt Hawkins and Rahsan Ekedal continue to blow me away. I will stand by the statement I made after reading issue 3, each book is better than the one before it.
Not only is Think Tank the first book that I have ever given a 10/10, it is the only book that has received this rating from me for four issues in a row. Which means that every issue they have put out has been amazing. This rating is for storytelling, art, concept and delivery, it is rare for a book to be able to deliver on every level but this team has managed to do so with Think Tank.