The fight against the Nine Families rages on with the release of Cryptocracy #5. While the last issue ended on the pretty heavy cliffhanger of the demise of Nick, the leader of the Mars family, with this issue, we get to see the consequences of that act.
We last left Nick as he named our protagonist Grahame as the next leader of the Mars family, instead of the seemingly pre-destined successor, his daughter Temple. This hasn’t set well with her since it was announced, and now (spoiler warning) she’s taken matters into her own hands on that front, successfully killing her father in an attempt to take the throne from Grahame.
This seems to be the major turn that the villainous Hum needed in his plot to overthrow the Cryptocracy and bring the world in on the shadowy deeds of these families. With his magic and his treachery, things seem to be going according to plan, for both himself and his terrifying-looking master, Chronos.
With the title of leader on the line, we get a showdown that has been five issues in the making: Temple versus Grahame. This is further complicated once again by the work of Bela Kalki, the podcaster that has put the Nine Families in the forefront with her show. Because of this, she is now a target, not only to those within the families, but the conspiracy theorists that were once her allies once their suspicions are confirmed.
Things have really come to a head in this first arc. While it looked to be a bit too expansive and convoluted for awhile, Van Jensen and Pete Woods have really made this story come together, and any doubt I had about its direction has been erased. That does make me think an end of sorts is coming, however. Whether it be the end of this first arc or the end of the series as a whole, something big is coming soon. Leadership is changing hands just as the antagonists of the series are getting their plan going, a clear sign we’re going to see a major climax in the near future, something I am very excited for.
The art in this is pretty incredible, too, especially the action sequences. There’s an interesting angular quality to the figures, as well as really vibrant coloring, making this aesthetic quite unique.
All in all, this is a fun book with imposing creatures, crazy twists, and what looks to be a well thought out world. It’s absolutely worth checking out, though this might not be the best starting point. It’d likely be better to catch up and finish with this flourish of an issue.