Oliver Davis reviews Hacktivity #1….
“Shawn Harris is a hacktivist, a software programmer / activist, who just pushed the boundaries too far. On trial for breaking into FBI systems, he’s just been found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in maximum security prison. As his trial starts getting media attention, people find the facts of the case aren’t so clear-cut. And other hackers decide to take matters into their own hands.”
Hacktivity is a black and white, independent comic, self-published by its writer, Ovi Demetrian Jr., and its artist, the questionably surnamed (literally) James Whynot. It’s a graphic novel made available online as a webcomic after each installment is completed. Good business plan.
As this first issue opens, our hero Shawn Harris is sentenced to 30 years in prison for hacking the FBI. He leaked countless documents to the public, detailing how the Government snoops on people’s digital lives. Big, contemporary issues are in the background. The hacking group Anonymous;
Bradley Chelsea Manning’s conviction for the Wikileaks scandal; the Stop Online Privacy Act. Their references, subtle or direct, help contextualise the story. It makes it difficult for the bleeding heart liberals amongst us not to empathise with Harris.
Unfortunately, setting up this debate is at the expense of his character. Besides Shawn being a hacker, we know nothing of his history. Which is fine. Mysterious people rule. But there’s no personality. No habits, recurring expressions, turns of phrase. Just nervousness. And that’s pretty generic considering his situation. It’s an exposition issue.
But that’s not to say things won’t get interesting. The end sequence promises a less shackled follow-up story, and Harris’ prosecutor’s Internet history getting published online (Dominatrix Dahlia, It Takes Twins Part 4, The Girl Next Door: Gagged and Tied Up) has a real triumphalism to it. Which reminds me…
*wipes own hard drive*