Comic Book Review: Hacktivist Volume 2 #1
A side effect of most of the population of the planet carrying pocket-sized supercomputers in our pockets is that the idea of boundaries becomes more of a gray area. We communicate to people previous generations would never have such direct access to and together, possibly for the first time in history, humanity has actually become a global organism, able of integrated communication. Unprecedented amounts of information is being shared instantly, everywhere. Hacktivist, Boom! Studio’s technothrilling limited series, lives and breathes in this setting and shows no sign of relenting.
The comic’s first volume introduced us to the world of Edwin Hiccox and Nate Graft, two of the most talented men behind a keyboard in the world. That volume had the men face themes of freedom in the age of cyberterrorism, revolution, and personal responsibility in a tight story the made both men legendary, albeit not in a way they ever could have expected. Conceived by Alyssa Milano and brought to life by the sharp writing of Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, illustrated by Marcus To (assisted by David Cutler), and colored by Derron Bennett, the book was a testement to the genre that fully deserved a Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross soundtrack.
Volume 2 begin with a timeskip 6 months after the events of the first volume. If you haven’t read that seriously I recommend it, but they story set up would not make it imperative. The identity of Ed and Nate’s clandestine hacking sect has been hijacked by rogue hackers and is looking for revenge for actions misinterpreted from the previous volume. New players to the game, they prove every bit as innovative and powerful as sve_urs3lf was when controlled by the masterminds behind it, and for Nate that is potentially deadly. It’s a tense story, like the previous volume, and the tension is derived directly from how much of the truth is it good for the public to know. It’s fascinating stuff for a book to make you think about and the creators do an excellent job stoking that fire.
The art is perfectly married to the story, with Marcus To bringing a clean, slightly angular style to express a difficult narrative to execute in this medium. The static nature comic art requires skill to make tapping at keyboards and phones exciting, and fortunately the series has that kind of talent on hand. The colors by Ian Herring and Becka Kenzie make the book pop, with government greens and danger reds appropriately hitting the narrative beats. It’s a slick looking title and the hard work and love put into the art shows perfectly.
If you are a fan of a sizzling thriller that uses cutting-edge technology to tell a story about identity in a world where we are merging into one collective via cyberspace, there is no better book out there. It’s smart, realistic, and grips you every time you turn the page. The market for these stories in comics is expanding and Hacktivist deserves a chance to show the world what comics can do. It’s a scary and exciting day and age we live in where we are all on the same wavelength in a sense, so as you read this on your mobile device take a moment to reflect on how powerful that is, and use that mindset to dive fully into this story. Hacktivist will do the rest and make you look at that tiny supercomputer in your hand in a different way the moment you close the last page.