Hactivist #1 (Archaia Black Label/Boom!)


Rating: 4.5/5 – Do yourself a favor and check this book out.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Having actor Alyssa Milano’s name associated with this comic (as creator) may cause a lot of people not normally into comics to pick up Hactivist #1 and try it.  At the same time, having the name of an actor on a comic is also something that tends to send people who regularly read comics to run in the other direction.  If you fall into the latter category, you are doing yourself a disservice by dismissing this comic before trying it out.

Writers Jackson Lanzig and Collin Kelly take the ideas and world created by Milano and run with them in spectacular fashion, giving us a first issue filled with action, intrigue, and substance.  At its core, this is the story of Ed Hiccox and Nate Graft, co-founders of YourLife, a social networking company that’s sort of like Facebook on steroids.  They’re billionaires, handsome (of course, what billionaire isn’t), but they’re also secretly the two faces of sve_Urs3lf, a white hat hacking concern that is primarily interested in bettering the world.

Milano, Lanzig, and Kelly have created something special here.  Relevant to today’s society where we see social media playing more and more of an active role in social/political uprisings around the globe.  Governments that have a predilection towards repression understand this and do their best to keep a lid on unfettered internet access by their populations for just this reason.  We’ve all seen viral videos of unspeakable acts happening and when there is exposure of these things that have existed for so long in the dark, the outcry from around the world causes real-world political pressure for change.

Artist Marcus To brings this story to life with some really unique page designs and panel layouts that enhanced my reading of the story quite a bit.  Colorist Ian Herring also does a fabulous job with some nuanced coloring that really bring the settings in To’s art to life.  I’d also be remiss if I missed giving credit to letterer Deron Bennett.  In the early part of the book, set in Tunisia, we get some captions and word balloons with a small Arabic word worked into the border.  Upon investigation, this turns out to be ‘Arabic’ written in Arabic, and is used to indicate the text translated into English from the Arabic, which was exactly what I had assumed it meant before getting the translation.  A small thing, but a very cool extra touch.  I might also add that the spot varnish on the cover looks spectacular in person, not something that translates in the digital pictures.  My hat is off to the cover designer.

Do yourself a favor and check this book out.  The story is something that could happen, and I can’t help but think maybe we’d be better off if it DID happen.   As the first offering from Archaia’s ‘Black Label’ imprint published by Boom! this is a home run. I am going to be keeping my eye out for more from these creators and the Black Label imprint if this is the quality of the comics they’re going to be putting out.  The bar has been set.  I’m looking forward to the rest of this series, this is on my “must buy” list.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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