Review: Cryptozoic Man #1
From Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson of AMC TV’s “Comic Book Men” comes “Cryptozoic Man”! Alan Ostman, a middle-aged husband/father, sees his life quickly unravel when his daughter goes missing on a camping trip in the Pacific Northwest…Bigfoot country. After Gray aliens abduct him from a roadside bar, he learns that the fate of the world is dependent on trapping the world’s most legendary cryptids…not to mention defeating a psychopath in a pig-shaped leather bondage mask, Alan knows he has his work cut out for him.
Last season on Comic Book Men the gang pitched Dynamite an idea for a comic called Cryptozoic Man. After many months of hard work, the first issue is hitting comic book shops today. Cryptozoic Man #1 features a story by Bryan Johnson and Walter Flanagan. Johnson handles the script with Flanagan tackling art. Chris Ivy handles inks, Wayne Jansen tackles colors, and Marshall Dillon provides lettering. So is the book a hit or was this the gimmick some thought it was?
The first part of the four part miniseries is called Decapitation Strike. The majority of the issue is a big showdown between the Cryptozoic Man and a pink-suit wearing person with a leather pig gimp mask. After making quick work of a few crypto zoological monsters, our hero and the pig-faced mystery man have a tense chat about the situation they’ve found themselves in. Throughout the ordeal we get several cuts of Cryptozoic Man’s origin story. Alan Ostman was an ordinary man whose life took a weird turn when he went searching for his lost daughter. Aliens abduct Alan and turn him into the beast he is today in return for something. The pig man and Cryptozoic Man finish their conversation on a mysterious note that could be just be what our hero has been waiting for all along. Can Cryptozoic Man trust the smooth talking pig? How exactly did the portals these beasts of myth, legend, and fantasy get opened?
Johnsons writes an interesting story. There are some meaty ideas for sure, but it comes across as pretty jumbled. The story switches back and forth between different times and different perspectives with not much being explained at all. The writing comes across as trying a little too hard to be serious and weighty and instead ends up just being clunky and confusing. It feels like issue 10 of a big series instead of an introduction. Flanagan’s art is the saving grace of the book. He pulls off some amazing visuals and throws in some dynamic panel layouts. One scene of our hero destroying a monster features gory and blood splatter across the entire page. It’s a fantastic scene that utilizes all the space of the panel and borders. Flanagan’s art is heightened thanks to Ivy’s inks and Jansen’s colors.
Bottom Line: Cryptozoic Man is an interesting story with some cool creatures, but the story leaves you scratching your head. It uses myth, sci-fi, and a little religion to make one muddled story. After reading it a second time things started to click into place, but there’s still a lot left to wonder about. 2/5