Created by Alyssa Milano
Written by Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Art by Marcus To
Published by Archaia Entertainment
Release Date: January 22nd, 2014
Actress, fashion designer, and humanitarian Alyssa Milano can now add comic book creator to her resume as her long awaited Archaia/BOOM! release Hacktivist hit the stands this week. Milano was inspired by social media entrepreneurs like Twitter creator Jack Dorsey, and hacker group Anonymous to tell the story of two of the world’s richest men who, in the shadows, just happen to be one of the biggest “Hacktivist” groups in the world. To help tell her story writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly were brought on board along with artist Marcus To to tell a story that captures the zeitgeist of the Silicon Valley internet generation unlike any comic that has come before it.
Hacktivist tells the story of Nate Graft and Edwin Hiccox, the co-founders of the social media platform, “yourlife” and are each worth billions of dollars. The difference between the two characters are immediately apparent. Nate wears casual clothes and is more happy to lucky while Mr. Hiccox wears a suit and is always looking to take the company and their extracurricular activities to the next level. Nate is the social butterfly and face of the company while Edwin is focused on the goals, and has an odd habit of noticing patterns in everyday life. The writers play the characters off of each other very well, and shows why they make great partners despite being almost polar opposites. While their day jobs are being social media mavens, they are secretly the hacking collective collective known as .sve_urself. They wield immense power both in their day jobs and in the hacking game with the power to start revolutions and topple governments.
This issue captures the feeling of both the tech elite and the hacker underbelly of the internet in ways that I’ve never seen a comic attempt before. Whether it was the Apple-esque keynote address that Nate and Edwin give to an adoring crowd or the dark back room hacking that uses words and phrases that sound familiar enough to this non-hacker that give it a sense of authenticity, it just felt right. Throw in an internet driven revolution, the use of hashtags, a lavish party, and a surprise ending you have a comic that in one issue looks at the tech culture/internet generation from a multitude of angles.
Marcus To is a name that should be familiar to comic book readers everywhere by now from his work on DC’s Red Robin or more currently his run on Batwing, and his upcoming New Warriors stint at Marvel. The Canadian born artist has been on the cusp of being a superstar artist for the past few years, and it is a coup for Archaia/BOOM! to have him on board this title. His style and design work fit perfectly with what the book is trying to accomplish, and the finished product is a pretty comic book. The yourlife headquarters and logo would fit in perfectly alongside those of Twitter and Facebook. Whether it be the afformentioned stylish yourlife headquarters, a lavish party, or the war torn streets of Tunisia, To is able to make every location look great.
The first issue of Hacktivist is a stellar debut that shouldn’t be overlooked or overshadowed by Alyssa Milano’s name on the cover. It is a book in its substance and style that truly feels like a comic that is a product of the times, and one inspired by people and ideas that have become everyday topics of conversation over the past few years. Above all, it is a comic that is beautifully put together and well done in all facets of comic book creation. Do yourself a favor and check out the first issue, and see if you are as excited as I am to see where it goes next.
The Verdict: 9.5/10