Best Foot Forward features outstanding comics that create an amazing, memorable, and impactful first issue.
Written By: Van Hensen
Art By: Pete Woods
Published: June 29, 2016 by Dark Horse Comics
Strap on your tin foil hats, cover those webcams with tape and muffle those microphones. This week we’re getting into a next level conspiracy comic that grabbed me with both hands and wouldn’t let go. I’m not one for buying into conspiracy theories, although they do fascinate me. I find even the wildest of conspiracies fascinating because of the sheer imagination and “logic” behind them. Whether it’s lizard people ruling the world, flat earth, or the ever popular Illuminati they’ve always intrigued me. So it shouldn’t be that surprising that I was attracted to Cryptocracy from Dark Horse, by Van Jensen and Pete Woods. I knew based on what I had seen that I would enjoy this book, however, the level behind which I found joy in this book blew my mind. It was so good that at the end of this very first issue I blurted out, “HOLY $#!%.”
Where do I even begin with this brilliant book? Everything about it was fantastic…everything. To start us off, let’s just talk about the artwork and coloring. I wasn’t familiar with Pete Woods work, but his name is now lodged into my brain so that I never miss anything he does again. His style is a mixture of classic comic book with a cartoon’ish flair. It’s not over done in a comical style, like Bugs Bunny or Elmer Fudd, but because of this mixture in style Woods brings this world to life. There’s borderline mysticism and magic happening in this book. We have people talking about, and seeking out, prophecies and Priests, and Woods art style is so perfect for this story that it elevates this book to superb heights.
The writing, as most of you who are familiar with this blog know, is what sells me on any book. I’m a writer…I know, shocking revelation…so for me the story, characters, pacing, dialogue, and cleverness of the idea must harmonize for me to become attached to a book. There are plenty of books I think are great, books that I read month after month, that don’t grab me like this book did. By the end of this book I was emailing my comic store and adding it to my pull list. This book had every single thing I look for in a story, and then delivered on each of those wonderfully. That’s how good the writing is in this book.
With all that being said, how about we get into the actual premise of the book?
Cryptocracy is a book based around the idea that there are nine families that rule the entire world. Each of these families adheres to a specific region within the world, and governs it how they see fit. This story takes the idea of a One-World-Order and escalates it beyond anything I’ve ever imagined. By using a rather common conspiracy theme, and expanding on it as Jensen has, what once was familiar has now become refreshing and intriguing, which, in writing can be difficult to do.
Within each of these families exists a diminishing circle of inclusion with eight different tiers. On the outskirts of the circle are the world’s population. Everyone in the world exists at the furthest point from these ruling families. As we work our way closer to the center of the circle we have politicians, and business leaders, which only sit within the fourth circle. Further in we have immediate family, but, even being born into these families doesn’t secure you within the eighth and most prestigious circle, heck it doesn’t even secure you into the seventh circle…that’s some hardcore family pressure. To reach the eighth circle you must be chosen as the ruler of the family, thus securing you as holder of the greatest secrets.
As it should be expected, when people of power feel they deserve more than they have, conflicts arise. It is this very idea that drives our plot in Cryptocracy. It turns out, their little secret families aren’t all harmonious, nor are they as secret and safe as they believed. A strange and mystical power has appeared and it seems this power wishes the families to be destroyed. As each of these ruling families scampers and scrambles to figure out what’s happening, we are following one individual within the American ruling family: Grahame. He is the son of the current American elder, and brother to an older sister who is set to take over her sick father’s place once he passes away. Grahame’s relationship with his sister is tenuous at best, and it’s clear she doesn’t trust her brother, nor does she think very much of him. He deals with it, however, now that the families now being hunted down, and not just his family but all the families, trust and household bonds are going to be stretched thin and Grahame is right in the middle of it all.
Within this first issue we are given the most intriguing story setup I’ve read in a while, and the twists and turns kept me flipping pages to the point that after I finished reading it, and sent an email adding it to my pull list, I took a breath and reread it once more. This is easily the best comic I’ve read for the month of June and definitely competes for the best book I’ve read this year, and there were some amazing books this month. Cryptocracy was just that good. It took my reading experience to a whole new level, and for that it most certainly deserves to be said they this book’s creative team put their Best Foot Forward.
Check your local shop or favorite online retailer for a physical copy, or get yourself a digital copy HERE