Release Date: January 22nd, 2014
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Written By: Jackson Lanzing/Collin Kelly
Art By: Marcus To
Colors By: Ian Herring
Hacktivist is probably the most timely comic book I’ve read in a long while. It’s approaching a very sensitive subject that’s currently one of the hottest, hot button topics in our society today. At first I didn’t realize it was the actress Alyssa Milano involved with the book when I saw the inside credits but I did my researchez, and found out that the Charmed star is indeed the creator of the mini. Surprisingly it isn’t a celebrity throwing weight around to produce some lackluster funny book just because Avengers made 11.6 sextrillion dollars at the box office and their cousin worked with Robert Downey Jr back in ’87.
Hacktivist follows two young software prodigies who have developed their universe’s SuperFacebook3000. These guys are young, rich geniuses who have way too much money, time, resources, and brains on their hands. So they decide to do that thing rich geniuses with everything regularly do. Start hacking the world as a black hat team. While sparking a revolution in Tunisia and, yes, televising it, they get recruited into a bigger group of hackers. These guys are legal though. They’re called Cyber Command. The CIA, naturally. While this book is clearly glamorizing the two software giants/hacktivists, it also shows the emptiness, the longing, and the misunderstood genius these two struggle with. It also doesn’t seem like it will be taking sides in the debate. I’m sure these two will get themselves into some questionable, morally gray areas even without the evil government involved. That being said, it’s really well written and I look forward to some “straight from the headline” adaptations. The dialog between the two founders is like reading the answers of a real life software wunderkind being interviewed by Stephen Hawking sometimes. It’s fast and natural and current as hell. Lanzing and Kelly have captured the times in a comic book like I don’t believe has ever been done before. It’s like they channeled everything about Anonymous, Wikileaks, and hacktivism in general into their writing.
The art by Marcus To is superb as well. It’s reminiscent of Marvel superstar Jim Cheung mixed with veteran Alan Davis. While the only action is on the first few pages, it’s full of the perfect body language and fluid motion you expect in a frontline DC title. The facial expressions of the cocky software billionaires are priceless as well as the smirks and scoffs from the bystanders caught in their wake. While the seriousness of the subject matter may clash with the cartoonish art style, for my personal tastes it works fine and tells the story perfectly.
Hacktivist was a shot in the dark and a pleasant surprise. Alyssa Milano’s personal politics may have led her into this idea but it looks like she knows how to separate her beliefs from her work and craft a great story. Neutrality may become a concern but with the mini only being four issues, maybe we can get a good unbiased tale examining our role in the ever-expanding network called the World Wide Web.