"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 July 27, 2016
Cryptocracy is a form of government where all the real leaders are hidden or unknown. In this case, those leaders are Mum of Mercury, Achebe of Venus, Sajjan of Gaia, Nick of Mars, Babak of Jupiter, Dilipa of Saturn, Galina of Uranus, Tecocol of Neptune, and Diggory of Pluto.
Cryptocracy #2 begins with the leaders (or, elders) of each family gathering in a safe place where no weapons are permitted. Together, they hesitantly form an alliance with each other to find the hunter (referred to as “harbinger”) who is jeopardizing their secrecy. The harbinger invades their meeting and brings along some guests to help him fight the elders. Some are taken down, but the others barely escape with their lives. Nick shows Grahame (an agent of high ranking in the Mars family) a disturbing secret that their family keeps and, elsewhere, a podcaster is revealing precious information about the families to the general public. The prophecy is in place and Chronos (prophetic end to the cryptocracy) is coming!
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One isolated incident has turned into a threat on the whole operation. Writer Van Jensen writes this issue with an immense sense of urgency. The harbinger—and even the podcaster—are about to reveal the world’s deepest, darkest secret. Part of me wants them to succeed just so I can see how the world would collapse. Judge me. The other part of me is siding with the nine families solely because they were attacked. A lot of them seem like truly horrible people, but they didn’t deserve to be killed for no good reason.
The pacing of this issue is steady, with an opening flashback sequence. In these three short pages, we see that the inner workings of this world’s cryptocracy—or at least the Mars family—have done some awful things, and are capable of even worse.
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Artist Pete Woods illustrates this issue with a artistic style that reveals a lot of emotion and movement. There is a clear angular and geometric base for his line work, which is neat, clean, and just beautiful. From facial expressions to body language, there is no second guessing what is happening in each and every panel. There are some new and interesting character designs in this issue, namely the rumored-to-be-legend mothmen. These cryptids look dangerously energetic but strangely adorable. They’re big blue furry things with wings and huge eyes. I know they’re supposed to be menacing, but I don’t really get that tone at first glance.
This is a great series for anyone interested in politics and/or fantasy. Granted, the two are nearly opposites, but that’s why they go so well together. The fate of cryptocracy hangs by a thread and, at this point, it doesn’t look like the families have much to count on. Be sure to keep up with this new enthralling series, and let the suspicion set in.