CRYPTOCRACY #5: The New Boss
CRYPTOCRACY #5 from Van Jensen and Pete Woods is a work of art. The writing is impeccable, and the art interweaves beautifully with the words on the page to create a fully immersive experience.
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CRYPTOCRACY #5 from Van Jensen and Pete Woods is out as of November 2nd! For those of you who have been keeping up with this series, you will not be disappointed with this issue in the slightest. For those of you who have not read any of CRYPTOCRACY yet, get out there and read it! If anyone tells you that sci-fi dystopian stories might be overplayed, just show them this series. It’ll be like a slap in the face.

READ: Craving more comics with dystopian worlds and secret societies? Click here for a review of ROMULUS #1!

This new issue of CRYPTOCRACY is fantastic, and that’s to say the very least. The plot really starts to complicate, and in a good way. It’s impossible to tell who the good guys are; so if you’re the kind of person who chooses sides, well, good luck. Character allegiances start to change, and the true nature of others are revealed. This issue takes a break from more prophecies coming true; however, it uses that break to intensify relationships between characters. In particular, the issue focuses more on the internal struggles within the Mars family and Bela’s realization that Hum was using her. Despite this, the end leaves the reader with quite an explosion of a cliffhanger brought on by the attack of Hum’s minions.


Pete Woods’ art in this issue is absolutely on point; furthermore, color is used so wonderfully to help convey the plot and the overall feel of each scene. In the first scene, the colors are somewhat muted. These muted colors reflect the current state of Temple’s psyche. The ending scene of the last issue was Temple’s impulsive murder of her father, Nick, after he tells her that he will appoint Grahame as the new elder. The first scene of issue #5 is a continuation of this scene, in which Temple is realizing what she has done and shows regret. She says that she loved her father, but the muted colors help to show what is confirmed later by her lie to Grahame: that, as Hum said, she only cares about herself.

READ: Interested in science fiction comics that involve the mysterious substance known as dark matter? THOSE SHADOW PEOPLE #4 has got you covered!

Color is also used as a method of juxtaposition. As Grahame and Temple face off in order to decide which of them is the new elder, the colors progressively become more orange. Then, as the scene switches to Grahame and Bela, the color immediately switches to a soft blue; the opposite color of orange. This shows the contrast between Grahame’s relationships with Temple and Bela. Grahame and Temple’s relationship is very tumultuous and competitive. They are not necessarily enemies, but they are definitely not friends. The transition to blue shows how differently Grahame views Bela; although their relationship is new, it will be very different from the relationship of Grahame and Temple. Pete Woods really hits the nail on the head with the art in this issue.

The characterization in this issue of CRYPTOCRACY is subtle, yet effective. Each character has a unique personality that is obvious, though at the same time it is not exaggerated. None of the characterization is black and white, either. The personalities of the characters are very complex, and none fit into the simple categories of ‘good’ or ‘evil’. If the characters can be put into any binaries, it would be something more like the ‘pro-establishment’ and the ‘anti-establishment’.

Despite that it is hard for the reader to tell who the ‘good guys’ are, most of the characters believe that they are working for the greater good; however, each opposing party in the series would argue the opposite. Grahame thinks that he is saving the world from Chronos. Hum and his followers seem to think that they are saving the world by ridding it of the families. Temple may be the only one to diverge from this pattern in issue #5, however, as she acts primarily out of selfishness and a lust for power. She may be the only character at this point in the series who could truly be considered ‘evil’.


All in all, CRYPTOCRACY #5 is a wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated issue. It is completely immersive, and contains characters that are lovable, hate-able, feared, and even pitiable. Despite that the ideas of government conspiracies and dystopian worlds are fairly common among books and comics, Van Jensen has been able to create a unique and interesting story that this issue continues the high standards of.

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