5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I'm a computer professional, and I jumped at this book when I heard of it, thinking that such a format might help me teach my 10 year old about the risk/reward/usage of the internet.
The book has a nice semi-glossy, quality feel to it, and the art work is great. Just remember that it's a comic book. You may already know that, but Im just reminding you because I had initially envisioned my son and I taking turns reading it out loud together in the evening, and discussing it, like we do with the novels that he has to read for school. But a comic book is not suitable for that, because it often relies on pictures to convey what is happening, with comparatively few verbal explanations of the situation. A comic book is something that you have to read and understand for yourself, so it doesn't work as a teaching medium between two people, unless you each read it at separate time and discuss it later.
(A) Exposes reader to some potential bad uses of the internet
1. bad guy hijacks a teen girls webcam, records and then blackmails her, threatening to post the videos on the net (--she is shown in a towel in one frame, there is no nudity--)...after she had earlier remarked that she wasn't sure she set it up properly
2. bad guy wins a programming contest by stealing code from the laptop of a better programmer, but gets caught
3. corrupt politician works with software company to rig electronic voting machines in attempt to win a presidential election! ...also shows the spin campaign to get the rigged voting machines adopted into widespread usage.
4. bad guys hack the root DNS servers, causing the internet to almost grind to a halt, affecting commerce, business, email, etc.
(B) Emphasizes the value of teamwork, and mentions the value of open-source collaborative software development
(C) Sitting at a computer all day for self-absorbed/selfish purposes (i.e. online gaming, etc) is condemned, proposing instead that if one is so interested in the internet, that person should learn to use it for the benefit of others, contribute to the improvement of your society, etc., rather than just using the net to waste time.
(A) Technical details. There are none. Now I'm an IT guy, so I would have been fascinated with the explanations of how the good/bad guys did their thing with the computer. But even the casual reader wants SOME idea of what went on. Many, many net users, even the teen audience, have an interest in HOW the bad guys are able to do what they do, and HOW the good guys can stop them. But the book skips over those topics completely. I was very disappointed with that aspect, because that is specifically what I was hoping I would find in a book like this. The book tells a story, demonstrates some virtuous IDEAS from characters, but stays completely clear of teaching or explaining any good or bad PRACTICES.
(B) Web links. There are a few times where a character mentions an internet or programming term, such as "open source", or "DNS server", followed by an (*). The asterisk is to act like a footnote, directing you to the bottom of the page, where you'll find a URL for the real world internet site, Hackerteen.com. I assume these are supposed to take you to definitions or explanations of the word in question, but I hated this idea for a comic book. They should have added a few more frames to the comic at each one of those points, to explain the thing, if necessary. The "go-to-my-website-if-you-want-to-understand-what-I-just-said" was annoying. I felt like they were pushing me to their web site for something that should have just been part of the story.
(C) The previous reviewer stated that these URL's weren't even valid! I have not tested that myself, since I did not have the internet available at the time I was reading it, and I don't have the book handy now. If what he said is true, and the URL's found on the pages of the book are still not valid, then I'm amazed. Can you say NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME? I hope they'll get their act together on that issue.
(D) The to-be-continued-in-Volume-2 part was also annoying. The major conflicts of the story are not resolved. You just suddenly come upon the last page, and you're told to wait for volume 2. However, this may be how all comic books work, so maybe thats just normal...but this costs more than a regular comic book, and I wanted an ending.
Overall, it is an interesting story, but Volume 1 doesn't teach you anything about the internet other than: bad guys can *somehow* infiltrate computers for evil purposes, voting machines software should be open-source so that the public will be safe from political manipulation, AND a naïve teen hacker with a good intentions can be duped into helping the bad guys if he's not careful.
That said, I probably will buy volume 2, because I do like the overall concept for the story, and who knows, it may have a little more savory details than this one had.