The Cryptics #1 Review

It's interesting, when I read this issue, I thought to myself, "Is this an old series?," because it certainly seemed like this was a longtime production, because there wasn't any setup at all, so I got the impression that I was supposed to have some idea of who these characters were.

Apparently, though, this is the first appearance of these characters.


Anyhow, the idea behind the comic book is basically the same one behind that bastion of television originality, The Flintstones Kids. Yep, this is the misadventures of kid versions of Dracula, Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde, The Wolfman and Frankenstein's Monster.

While the idea is fairly simple, there is certainly enough material here to milk for laughs.

That's why this issue was fairly disappointing, because I do not think the laughs were milked that much.

I read somewhere that Steve Niles wrote this comic "Marvel Style," basically letting artist Ben Roman go nuts and then Niles would fill in the dialogue later. This may be why the strongest stories in this comic are the one-pagers, where presumably Niles short plots are more controlling, because the longer stories just kind of meander.

Don't get me wrong, Roman is a skilled artist. Here is a sample page.

But while he draws well and designs great characters, he doesn't exactly advance the plot all that well. That might be Niles' fault as well, don't get me wrong, I don't know how much of the story was Niles, but as the shorter stories are funnier, it makes me tend to think that Roman's riffs don't help the book much.

One of the funniest bits in the book is how the wolfman kid's parents are a Wolfman and a Frankenstein's Monster. It's a fun pairing, and it is responsible for most of the best jokes in the issue (including the bit where the kids talk about seeing a sex video between the two).

Basically, though, this is a fun book that just isn't all that funny. The characters are all endearing enough, but it's basically like following around a bunch of actual kids. What kids actually do is not all that interesting.

Still, Roman's art has a great style to it and I love his designs, and the characters ARE pretty darn endearing. But I need some more laughs to recommend this comic.

So not recommended.

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