Indie Comic Review: Think Tank #1

Think Tank #1 is the kind of book that more you think about it, the less you like it.  Like a summer blockbuster, the first viewing is the best.  If you go back and think about it, Think Tank is probably not going to hold up as well and your enjoyment will suffer.

Child prodigy, inventor, genius, slacker… mass murderer. These are all ways to describe the brilliant Dr. David Loren. When a military think tank’s smartest scientist decides he can no longer stomach creating weapons of destruction, will he be able to think his way out of his dilemma or find himself subject to the machinations of smaller men?

Let’s start with the setup.  Child prodigy/slacker/renegade who doesn’t like the idea of his creations being used to kill people.  I liked it the first time I saw it when it starred Val Kilmer and was called Real Genius.  Sure there are some differences: Think Tank is set at a military installation, Real Genius is set at Pacific Tech.  Think Tank has sinister undertones, Real Genius has Lazlo.  Unfortunately I had about as easy a time taking Think Tank seriously as I did Real Genius.

It isn’t that the setup is bad.  Like I said, I liked Real Genius; it is more that the execution of Think Tank is not up to snuff.  It is difficult to determine if it is the script or the art which is the culprit, but it is safe to say that the art was no help in setting the tone.  After reading the entire first issue I can’t tell how seriously I am supposed to take the book.  Writer Matt Hawkins seems to want me to take this seriously, but he isn’t making it easy.  Am I supposed to feel some fear for the main character?  Am I supposed to believe that a character who can whip up a mind-reading machine Reed Richards style is really going to be threatened by a generic military type with a bad haircut?

The art by Rahsan Ekedal is not effective in supporting taking the book seriously.  While the cover may make David look like a badass (although not as badass as Val Kilmer) the interior art alternates between making him look like a loser and making him look like an extra from a movie circa 1994.  Ekedal is capable of giving his characters facial expressions, but he chooses not to. Almost every panel of the book has a character speaking, but in only one out of every  eight panels has a character with his or her mouth open.  Regardless of the situation, regardless of what is being said, all of the characters have placid, tight-lipped expressions on their faces.

Add to that the fact that the characters are rendered different from panel to panel, the angles of vehicles, buildings, and walls just don’t match up right, and the book takes on an amateur feel.

Oh yeah.  And the book is in black and white.

I wouldn’t normally bring that up. I have nothing against a black and white book.  But I have a difficult time paying the same price ($3.99) for a black and white book that I would pay for a color book.   With a book like Saga on the stands next to it for $2.99 in full color, there is no reason why an inferior book should cost 25% more.

Save your money.  Rent Real Genius.  I promise you will enjoy it more.  And it holds up better under multiple viewings.

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