I was recently getting a haircut when the hairdresser started telling me about the Illuminati; she was dead serious – spouting claims that everything is rigged and set up – and we have no choice in the matter as regular folk. Then she started talking about how Jay Z and Kanye West were leaders of the Illuminati and I realized she was probably talking out of her rear end.
Or was she?
Dark Horse Comics’ latest series Cryptocracy takes you into the world of 9 families who have ruled for ages. Is it good?
Cryptocracy #3 (Dark Horse Comics)
So what’s it about? The Dark Horse Summary reads:
The Nine Prophecies foretell a great cataclysm and the end of the age of the Nine Families that secretly rule the world. The first has come true, and now the mysterious and deadly Hum aims to fulfill the others. Agent Grahame is desperate to prove that Hum is just a man—a man who can be killed. Elsewhere, radio host Bela is drawn into the fight for the fate of the world as she learns some of the Families’ long-hidden secrets.
Why does this book matter?
Writer Van Jensen has crafted quite a complex world, one which lengthy prose reveals more and more about with each issue. An important explanation page of what Cryptocracy is opens each issue too and Jensen is quite adept at delivering new details about this world which is somewhat similar to our own, but at the same time –very different.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This would help be a ton in second period.
This issue really opens things up with a big surprise at the end, but it all leads there via its protagonist letting his ego get in the way. Jensen does well to capture Grahame’s naive nature and in the process makes things even worse. The most interesting thing is the prophecies that open the issue – one which seems to be on its way involving animals – and it’ll be fun to see them slowly reveal themselves as the series progresses. Also, one of the prophecies will surely be connected to the awe inspiring cliffhanger in this issue and I can’t wait to see which one that is.
Artist Pete Woods uses fewer straight digital effects in this issue (or maybe they just blend in better), which adds up to a solid rendering of action and prophecy alike. I’m still not sure why his clearly hand drawn characters need to be walking amidst computer generated surroundings (the bookshelves are glaringly different than his drawing) because he renders the characters so darn well. Clothing in particular looks quite nice and flows realistically. Not all the CG is off though, as it works quite well when a major catastrophe takes place. The buildings and streets look fantastic as they crack up and fall.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This issue feels untethered from the reality of the world and the bigger picture that the previous issues got so right. It goes from strange floating men, to big action, and finally the wild cliffhanger. It’s hard to grasp in these final pages where we are or how it even makes sense, which hurts the book from feeling tethered to reality.
It’s also becoming harder and harder to care about the characters. The first issue was practically perfect in every way and that includes character work. At this juncture I don’t know why I should care about Graham or the conspiracy theorist as not enough work has been done to make them endearing, especially the latter.
Is It Good?
Progress is made and big action can be had, but Cryptocracy #3 doesn’t quite hit home the character work. Instead you’re left with wonderment, but any real idea why you should care. Still, you can’t do wrong with the wonderment on every page.