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Review: “Hacktivist” # 1 (of 4)

As the creation of actress Alyssa Milano, one would expect “Hacktivist” to be an undercooked attempt to popularize a starring vehicle for a woman taking advantage of Hollywoods growing interest in the medium. Instead Jason Lanzing and Collin Kelly craft a script that is more socially conscious and poignant. Perhaps not to the degree that it believes itself to be, but still conscious enough to have a cool story with an important message.

WRITTEN BY: Jason Lanzing & Collin Kelly
ART BY: Marcus To
PRICE: $3.50
RELEASE: January 22, 2014

“Hacktivist” begins excitingly in the middle of a coup in Tunisia. Hackers incite the population to near frenzied excitement and use the opportunity to take control of the country’s Internet. What they intend to follow through on is anyone’s guess, but its exciting enough to jump start the series.

Quickly we’re whisked back to the United States where the two men behind the coup sit comfortably in computer chairs with perfectly quaffed hair and tans. These are Nate Graft and Edward Hiccoxx. They are co-CEO’s of YourLife a social media program that allows users to keep their data private. Just exactly how it works is a mystery, but I suppose the details are not important.

Instead we’re treated to the genius and ingenuity of these men in a world designed to invade our privacy. The irony of it all is they are hackers invading other people’s lives in the name of individual freedom. A topic the book doesn’t really take time to consider.

Marcus To’s art articulates the scenes of the book in a fairly standard approach. There is a wonderful splash panel near the beginning of the book that shows the true chaos being created in Tunisia. However, the panels never really make any attempt to play with the conventions of the medium nor does To have any really inspiring layouts. Which is a shame since most of the book is character drama between Ed and Nate. So most of the issue is these two trust fund geniuses arguing amongst the blue light of their loft apartments.

“Hacktivist” has some really incredible ideas that it fails to deliver on. At least so far, the issues discussed are undercooked. The book pushes too hard to name drop near the end and feels completely forced to the point of unnatural instead of a through the looking glass moment into the culture of excess.

Hacker stories are steeped in a world that most of society isn’t privy to. Lanzing and Kelly make no attempt to make this strange world familiar, instead they push it into a realm of intangibility and hope that we’ll hold on for the ride. Sadly I’ve lost interest in the trust fund heroes who hack with absolutely no explanation of how they pull it off. Perhaps the answers I’m looking for will come with time, but as far as first issues go “Hacktivist” leaves many things to be desired.

Rating: 2.5/5 Skulls.



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