It takes a special comic book to get me to read it twice in one week. With the number of comics I need to read, either because I’m following a story or simply because I have to review a series I’m committed to, the second read through better be damn worth it.
Or, it could be so god awful I was worried I may have been stroking out while reading it the first time. I think I may have encountered such a read this week, and while it’s probably already obvious it’s not good, let’s ask the question anyway: is it good?
Cryptozoic Man #1 (of 4) (Dynamite Entertainment)
Right up front you should know this book was written and drawn by reality TV stars. It was created by Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson of AMC TV’s Comic Book Men. I didn’t know this on my first read through, particularly because there’s nothing in the book to suggest as much aside from an ad or two. That doesn’t necessarily matter, but I did get the faintest feeling this book wouldn’t exist without their TV connections. Upon further examination the book’s official blurb reads:
The storyline revolving around this four issue series will be revisited in Comic Book Men Season III.
So this is tying into a TV show and we’re being told that’s a positive? Uh oh.
This page seems like one giant Animal Man rip off.
The issue opens with a poetically written page about some townsfolk, which is visually rendered nicely and creates a great sense of atmosphere. There’s a good setup to some chilling doom hanging right there on the page. Then it cuts immediately to insane monsters attacking one another.
Why? I have no idea.
So the verbiage is poetic but it ultimately doesn’t mean much. That’s one problem that’s cancerous throughout this issue: The narrative doesn’t add up. It seems to be written to be verbose and not much more. Are the writers in love with their words or are they just filling pages? I kept asking myself that while reading the book.
Pretty opening panel.
I was completely lost throughout this book, partly because of the odd narrative, but also because there seems to be a whole story that has taken place prior to the first issue. For all my research I think this is the start, but I can’t be sure because it’s almost impossible to think the creators thought there was enough information here to have any of it make sense. What this boils down to is complete and utter frustration. I want this story to make sense ( isn’t that the point of stories on some level?) but it doesn’t – and never comes around either.
As I was saying, the book opens on a small town then quickly cuts to a bunch of monsters and a pig masked man fighting. None of this makes any sense, and there’s nothing to tell you this is a flash forward. I think it is, but who can be sure?
The comic is ultimately about a middle-aged father whose life quickly unravels when his daughter goes missing on a camping trip in the Pacific Northwest. After gray aliens abduct him from a roadside bar, he… I guess he gets powers and has to face a psychopath in a pig-shaped leather bondage mask who flies around on an Astro-Harness looking device similar to Orion over in DC Comics.
What does that narration even mean?
The comic is certainly not lacking in action, as there’s plenty of it, it’s just all so nonsensical I don’t think it really matters. The art isn’t half bad, which makes the read all the more frustrating.
There is some use of digital renderings that imbue a dreamlike quality and the pig masked bad guy is properly awkward and evil looking. The layouts are also so varying you might come away thinking it was done by more than one artist. Walter Flanagan gets credit for pencils, but does that mean he did the digital pages too? The layouts do seem almost too different at times, with contrasting styles implemented to make things pop. They don’t seem to serve the story much though and comes off as a bit distracting at times.
I have no idea why any of this is happening.
- Good art
- What the hell is this even about?!
I read this comic twice and have no idea why it even exists. The story certainly doesn’t seem to be something that needed to be written. I can’t recommend this in the slightest as it’s so nonsensical even the decent art is throwaway material. The only draw I see is that you might get an inside look at its creation on the TV show. The script is a mess, doesn’t do the reader any favors and goes from boring to straight up frustrating.
Is It Good?