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Preview: Hacktivist Vol. 2 HC

Hacktivist Vol. 2 HC

Imprint: Archaia
Writer: Alyssa Milano, Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Artist: Marcus To

Nate Graft and Edward Hiccox were the young, brilliant co-founders of the social networking company YourLife while secretly running .sve_urs3lf, a hacker collective enabling revolutions around the globe. It’s been six months since Ed was killed by a drone on national television while fighting for freedom. It’s been six months since Nate lost his company, his best friend, and his mission. Now in charge of the government organization VIGIL, the front line of America’s ongoing cyber operations, Nate has started to pick up the pieces of his life when the government comes under attack from a new breed of hacker… working under the name .sve_urs3lf. Collects the complete limited series.

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Review: Hacktivist Vol. 2 #2

kactivist002Kill a single person, and you’re a murderer; kill a million and you’re a conqueror.  So goes the thinking among some in society whether for good or for bad, and so goes the story in this second issue of the second volume of Hacktivist.  Previously the series has set the gears in motion with a coordinated cyber attack of the highest order, kind of a combination of Occupy Wall Street with true terror, but the question remains where exactly does one draw the line in terms of true justice.  Wall Street bankers get away with stealing millions, but a person that steals a loaf of bread to feed a family gets marched off to jail or prison.  The approach of this series and the previous one is the same as the historian Lord Acton’s, that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.  That when one works in the shades of grey that they must define their own boundaries of right and wrong or they end up on the wrong.

This issue does a good job of establishing that as fact.  .SVE_URS3LF. has launched its massive attack on domestic targets, but no one is aware of who has launched this attack, at least not until now.  The nameless face of the movement is revealed, but as far as comic book supervillains go she is pretty sedate, or even one that is easier to identify with.  She volunteers her time to help others, even if her definition of what is legal is a little skewed.  She is equal parts Nightingale and Robin Hood, and only different from many asking for social change because she takes matters into her own hands.

The part of the story showcasing this character is one of the highlights of this issue although there are others.  The story continues along, keeping the reader intrigued by the cyber attacks that have been going on, but the true heart of this issue lies with its villain and it is where the story succeeds.  People can be many different things, and even the best can also be the worst or vice versa, and the villain shows this.  More so, this issue serves as a a great starting point to understand the problems of modern Western society, where to draw the lines of what is legal and accepted versus what is not.  Indeed there are no easy answers, and neither are there any in this series.  By presenting an identifiable and sympathetic villain the story gains its own grey area, and it succeeds because of it.

Story: Alyssa Milano, Colin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing Art: Marcus To
Story: 9.8 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Boom Studios/Archaia provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Review: Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1

hacktivistThe medium of comics can be at times amazingly inventive and creative, but it has also never really known what to make of social activism and the advent of computers into our lives.  This has changed in varying degrees over the years, as the rise of independents have made certain stories more approachable, especially for those groups that are often marginalized, and one can see this in the development of the medium’s approach to social justice.  While the 1960s saw huge advances in civil rights, it was often ignored in comics, with comic characters mostly ignoring the real world.  The modern day is different, as the independents tell the stories that the big two sometimes seemed hesitant to explore, with movements like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street forming part of the public discourse in comics.  Equally though, comics have never really approached computing from a realistic standpoint, with graphical representations of virtual worlds which are nothing like the true cyberspace, or of superheroes like Oracle who act as slightly more enhanced versions of Google and Wikipedia.

These two oddities for comics combined together in the first series of Hacktivist which focused specifically around the events of the Arab Spring, but also focused on the 99% and a world that Snowden has alluded to.  This second series picks up from that first story line and pushes it in a new direction.  The story here focuses on the return of some familiar screen names, but not belonging to the original owners.  Some new hackers have taken it upon themselves to build on what has come before and to push the boundaries farther.  The goal now is not only social justice, but seemingly also the beginning of a revolution, and the series’ regulars return to attempt to stop them.

This series deserves praise for accomplishing what has been next to impossible for comics as a medium, addressing a social issue, and tackling it head-on as opposed to the restrained approached of some afraid to keep both side’s of the debate happy.  It has also managed to infuse the series with so much computer based concepts that it makes the reader feel like one with the characters and their hacking knowledge.  Neither is an easy feat in this medium, and the end result, combined with some clever artwork, is a comic that has the ability to tell a story unlike any other.  The creative team has set this up as a potentially great series, and it only remains for them to execute what they have start here.

Story: Alyssa Milano, Colin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing Art: Marcus To
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Boom Studios/Archaia provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Preview: Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1 (of 6)

Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1 (of 6)

Imprint: Archaia
Created by: Alyssa Milano
Writers: Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Artist: Marcus To

It’s been six months since Tunis. Nate Graft’s life was turned upside-down after his best friend Ed Hiccox died, but he’s since pulled things together and is now in charge of VIGIL, the front line of America’s ongoing cyber operations. Just when things are starting to gain some semblance of control, YourLife, the government, and Nate come under attack by a new breed of hacker…who call themselves .sve_urs3lf. Using Nate and Ed’s former handle, they want to know the truth of what happened in Tunis, and they’re calling for blood. Nate’s blood.

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Alyssa Milano and Archaia Set to Debut a New Installment of Hacktivist

Archaia, an imprint of publisher BOOM! Studios, has announced the next installment of high-stakes danger in the hacker community with Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1, debuting this July. The team behind the critically acclaimed limited series is back as actress/activist Alyssa Milano teams up once again with writers Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, and artist Marcus To for a new limited series that pits hacker against hacker.

It’s been six months since Tunis. Nate Graft’s life was turned upside-down after his best friend Ed Hiccox died, but he’s since pulled things together and is now in charge of VIGIL, the front line of America’s ongoing cyber operations. Just when things are starting to gain some semblance of control, YourLife, the government, and Nate come under attack by a new breed of hacker…who call themselves .sve_urs3lf. Using Nate and Ed’s former handle, they want to know the truth of what happened in Tunis, and they’re calling for blood. Nate’s blood.

Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1 (of 6) arrives in comic shops on July 29th with a main cover by series artist Marcus To for the price of $3.99 under Diamond order code MAY151082. Also available in a limited quality is a 10 Years incentive cover by Sonny Liew, and a retailer incentive cover by Marcus To.

Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1 Main Cover by Marcus To Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1 Variant Cover by Marcus To

Preview: Hacktivist HC

Hacktivist HC

Writer(s): Alyssa Milano, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelly
Artist(s): Marcus To

Ed Hiccox and Nate Graft are the young, brilliant co-founders of YourLife, a social networking company that has changed the way the world connects with each other. But they are also “sve_Urs3lf,” the largest black-hat hacking group on the planet. When their operation is discovered by the U.S. Government, and their company is taken over by military contracts and the CIA, Ed and Nate must face the real world beyond the code and choose between friendship and what they believe to be right.

A story about friendship and freedom in a time of war, stunningly illustrated by fan-favorite artist Marcus To (Cyborg 009, New Warriors, Red Robin) and Eisner Award-nominated colorist Ian Herring (Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, Cyborg 009, Ms. Marvel).

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Preview: Hacktivist #4

Hacktivist #4 (FINAL ISSUE)

Writers: Alyssa Milano, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelly
Artist: Marcus To

Reeling from tragedy, Ed has to orchestrate the most elaborate and far-reaching hack so far in order to right the wrongs he has brought to Sirine’s doorstep in Tunisia. However, if his message is to reach the entire world under the eagle eye of Agent Ori and the CIA, he will need the help of an old friend. In this gripping conclusion to Alyssa Milano’s four-part series, will Nate and Ed come together in order to save each other and change the world?

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Preview: Hacktivist #3

Hacktivist #3

Writer(s): Alyssa Milano, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelly
Artist(s): Marcus To

Having successfully escaped to Tunisia, Ed finally meets Sirine face to face, and neither is what the other expected. While Ed is forced to come out from behind his computer screen and deal with the real-life consequences of his hacking, Nate feels the walls starting to close in on him back at YourLife. When the stakes are raised to life and death, will the two best friends be torn apart for good?

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Preview: Hacktivist #2

Hacktivist #2

Writer(s): Alyssa Milano, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelly
Artist(s): Marcus To

With a government contract on the table in exchange for their pardons, Nate and Ed open the doors of their social networking company YourLife to the CIA to continue their operations in Tunisia. However, Ed may already be thinking a few moves ahead of them all, with bigger, more dangerous plans for sve_Urs3lf.

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Review: Hacktivist #1

Hacktivist_001_rev_Page_1From the creative mind of Alyssa Milano, with artist Marcus To, colorist Ian Herring, and writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, Hacktivist is a fast-paced cyber-thriller about friendship and freedom in a time war.

Ed Hiccox and Nate Graft are young, brilliant, and the co-founders of YourLife, a social networking company that has changed the way the world stays connected. In secret, these best friends are also “sve_Urs3lf,” the largest, white-hat hacking group on the planet, exposing information and sparking revolutions across the globe.

The first issue dives right into the heart of this series, the use of technology to spark revolutions. Those revolutions can be how we connect with each other and keep in touch, to as big as overthrowing and changing a government. We’ve seen this in real life with Twitter playing a role in the Arab Spring, and Facebook allowing individuals to connect to affect change, to internet activists making sure the internet is up and running so people powered movements can connect and be heard. We’ve seen major parts of the internet shut down to prevent damaging legislation from being passed. This issue takes that change out of the hand of the countless numbers of faceless individuals typing away on keyboards behind the scenes, and puts it in the hands of the main characters Hiccox and Graft.

One can debate taking the away the efforts of so many and making it look like such grand efforts are possible by two individuals, but the idea is interesting. Tech pioneers today are creating change with every invention, with every improvement, so why not have them literally behind the scenes acting as hacktivists, helping on the ground political activists, in this first issue Tunisia.

As someone deep in this world, using technology to create change, the comic is an interesting concept and intelligently opens up a lot of questions and themes that should be fun to explore throughout its four issues. I can’t go too much into it without ruining the ending of the first issue, but as much as the comic talks about events like the Arab Spring, it also looks to dig into the NSA spying and governmental operations. While movements today are becoming more decentralized, they often line-up with centralized powers as well, and this dichotomy seems like it’ll be explored. Hopefully we’ll also get to question the benefits of a connected, stable world would bring to the main protagonists and their social networking platform.

Stories are often best when they reflect the modern world we live in. They’re great when they get us to think about that world. Hacktivist looks like it’s going in that direction, an old world form of communication commenting on a new world form of communication.

Story: Alyssa Milano, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly Art: Marcus To
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Archaia/BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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