Writer: Bryan Johnson
Artist: Walt Flanagan
Where do I even begin with this book? I say that because honestly I have no idea where to start in reviewing this new title from Dynamite.
Cryptozoic Man is the newest title to be released from Dynamite and it is from two of the stars of the AMC show Comic Book Men. To make sure readers know that it is by them they even went so far as to put all five members of the cast in the upper left corner of the cover. The whole gang is there, Walt, Bryan, Ming, Mike and yes even Kevin Smith. So needless to say it is fitting to have their picture on this book and to release it just in time for the new season’s premier.
However I will admit that after I had finished reading this first issue my head was spinning. There is so much going on in this first outing and honestly none of it is on a linear path. The story jumps from past to present to something unknown. It is really kind of hard to follow when you look at it and I found I had to read it again to get the understanding of it, or at least what I will pass as an understanding. I say that because the story does go in all directions and you have to really read and look at the panel’s to even get an idea of what is going on.
What we do know is a man by the name of Alan Ostman has lost his daughter in the woods and after reading through the book you come to find out it seems he was experimented on by the Greys (aliens) to become a half man half, well chimera (an ancient beast made up of a lion, goat and snake). We also come to understand that cryptids (creatures who are unknown to exist or not) are guardians of portals to other dimensions, which is where we are told his daughter is now.
Don’t even ask me where the guy in the fetish pig mask came from because honestly I have no clue.
This title is very weird in its pacing and arrangement but honestly, it’s new and different. While it is a book you have to read a few times to grasp every single aspect of what is going on, from quotes from the bible to trying to figure out what the true purpose of the Cryptozoic man is, it’s a disorienting ride that is rather enjoyable. Yes you can get lost very easily and you have to re-read captions and I have stated before that is not something I enjoy, but this time it wasn’t as bad because it was trying to understand the unknown. That may be the whole meaning behind the tale, cryptids are unknown creatures ones that we are not sure exist or not and maybe that is why the story is as it is, you must read between the lines to fully comprehend what the truth is.
Having met writer Bryan Johnson and artist Walt Flanagan myself I can see where this idea came from. If you have ever watched the show you know of Bryan’s fondness for the weird and the macabre. This is a true testament to those loves, and if I am to be truthful, Johnson is a good writer. He uses phrases and words that make you think and make you have to ponder their true meaning. He isn’t giving you everything right up front on a silver platter; he is making you work to understand the true nature of the tale. I do however wish to know why he gave the pig masked fellow the speech style he did, I am not sure if it is to sound as if he is making pig sounds or not. Johnson also seems to have done his research on the different cryptids that are depicted in this tale. He really has the understanding of the legends and myths surrounding them.
Likewise Walt’s art is fantastic and he seems to draw on many different mediums in this issue. It truly shows that Walt is a great artist, as we know from his Batman books he did with Smith. Plus some of the things he puts in the background make you wonder where did he come up with that? This book gave an all-new meaning to the phrase Spider-Pig. Also I really enjoyed his depictions of Sasquatch, the Jersey Devil, Nessie and the Chupacabra.
The interpretation, pacing and story may turn some readers off, but if you want a book that honestly makes you think and travel down a path of the unknown then you should pick up Cryptozoic Man. Yes it is weird and yes it will make you feel really dizzy at the end, but it is like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, you just want to get back on and go again.
From Spin to all of you, I give it a…
4 out of 5 nerds