Cryptozoic Man #3 (of 4)
Written by Bryan Johnson
Art by Walter Flanagan
Cover by Walter Flanagan and Wayne Jansen
Release Date: January 8, 2014
Cover Price: $3.99
It is the beginning of end times. Monsters and unspeakable beasts have invaded earth from different dimensions and in response, aliens (of the classic Roswell greys kind) have abducted a man named Alan Ostman and transformed him into a beast himself – formed from a hodgepodge of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and the Jersey Devil among other creatures. His task? To find and repel this evil which is destroying Earth’s mythical monsters, who are called “cryptids” and are portals to other worlds.
As we join Ostman here, he is getting used to his new position working in an interdimensional and experimental lab that will be used to hunt down his monstrous targets. When the latest capture beast escapes its confines, it kills Ostman’s lab assistant and forces Ostman to flees out into dimensional space. Here, he comes face-to-face with his missing daughter, Sammi, who sits down with him over tea to explain that the end is closer than he thinks.
Comic Book Men stars and Kevin Smith’s perennial henchmen Bryan Johnson and Walter Flanagan have teamed up once again to put their money where their mouth is as comic book aficionados with this new mini-series from Dynamite Entertainment. The result, unfortunately, is a rather convoluted and nigh-incomprehensible mess.
If the synopsis and issue overview above is confusing, try reading a few pages from the series and you’ll be even more lost before you know it. While Johnson and Flanagan came up with the story, it is Johnson’s script that will leave one absolutely scratching their head in befuddlement of trying to understand what is going on in this universe. When dropping a reader into the middle of a story, a combination of properly written exposition and timely flashbacks to flesh out the plot are crucial, and while we receive both here, neither helps in any way.
Flanagan’s artwork feels crammed with too much material, most likely in an effort visually portray everything that is going on within the story and the settings they take place in. Most of the supporting monsters, beasts, and nightmare creations are cool enough, and have all the prerequisites for indulging terror, but are just not enough to carry the book on their own. On the other hand our main protagonist, who after three issues has yet to go by his titular moniker, is a bit of a mess beyond even his intended alien-designed patchwork. The result is something you’d be more apt to see drawn and hanging on some preteen’s bedroom corkboard, not something you can really rally behind.
While the concept of the book in theory is promising, the execution has missed its mark. This is a series that cannot be recommended to anyone outside of core completists for all things Kevin Smith-related or those that may just be fans of the Comic Book Men television show and want a piece of something featured on a few episodes.