"Cryptocracy #1" Comic Review
Written by Huck Raj Talwar
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Van Jensen
Illustrated by Pete Woods
2016, 32 pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 29th, 2016
Of the thousands of conspiracy theories cooked up over the years, none are as popular as the infamous Illuminati. In Cryptocracy #1, the Illuminati is debunked only by something far worse and more disturbing. Its agents think they’re joining the Illuminati, but they’re just joining the family. In this series, the world is run by nine families. We are most concerned with the family known as “Mars.”
The family’s operations are divided into four circles. Circle #1 is all of humanity. Circle #2 consists of the people drafted for lower-level tasks. Circle #3 includes higher-level operatives. Finally, Circle #4 is made of only the richest and most powerful families. Mars has one main concern: securing a bright future for North America.
Things go as planned until one of the other families, Jupiter, is attacked. The assailant isn’t from any of the nine families, but is after all of them. And so, “The Coming” sets a prophecy in motion. No one has known about the families, much less threatened them, until now.
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The concept of Cryptocracy is actually really interesting. The theory that power lies in private institutions and families instead of elected representatives is a very real one, called the “Shadow Government.” Writer Van Jensen takes things a step further when he includes aliens called “Grays” working for the private families. Their job is to scrub all the conspiracy out of humanity’s heads, but they’re not doing their job too well, apparently. If you’ve never felt paranoia, this is the comic that’ll make you start.
Jensen’s writing is really fluid, with a lot of interaction between characters. My favorite instance of this is when Grahame (a big shot in Mars) addresses the people of Mars. He simply speaks and the crowd, that is Circle #4, shouts “DOMINAMUR” in unison. This word comes from that Latin “dominor,” meaning “lord” or “master.” This place is looking more and more like a cult than any sort of government.
Artist Pete Woods is no stranger to illustrating comic books. He has worked on Deadpool, Catwoman, Superman, and more. He has some really great character designs in this issue, from cute little knee-high aliens to the creation of a bugbear (pretty much a bear in a suit and tie).
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In terms of the human characters, there is a definite angular art style, which leads to a lot of geometric shapes. This just ends up looking like everyone has amazing cheek bones and jaw lines, so I’m not complaining.
There is a lot of high-tech equipment that looks surprisingly normal. There is enough movement and coherence between panels that this issue reads as quite realistic. From holographic maps to invisible shields and plasma guns, it’s way ahead of its time.
It’ll be really interesting to see how Mars deals with this attacker. Their worst fear is coming true. The airport they built to mask their activities is no longer working, and they’re vulnerable. Seeing as they have plenty of high-tech equipment, I’m really excited to see how far they go to deal with this prophecy.
If you’re a fan of The X-Files, you’re going to love this series. If the rest of it is anything like this issue, I’m already addicted.