Writer: Van Jensen
Art & Cover: Pete Woods
What if the world as we know it was run from the shadows? The leaders of nations, republics, education, science, and industry actually have no power but are simple pieces on a chessboard, orchestrated by a Cryptocracy, a global government where the real leaders are hidden or unknown. This is the premise of the latest title from Van Jensen (Green Lantern, The Flash) and Dark Horse.
**Mild Spoilers Ahead**
Peel back the onion
There are nine distinct layers to the cryptocracy, like layers to an onion. These sections are called “families.” The vast majority of the 7+ billion humans on the planet belong to the First Circle, just a bunch of nobodies like you and me. The Ninth Circle includes Elders that have ruled this world for hundreds of years. They have the secrets to longevity that they simply aren’t sharing with the rest of us.
Even the best laid plans go sideways
The Ninth Circle is not only commissioned with leading Earth, but insuring it’s safety. The book begins with a relatively small testing of dark matter. A very small amount effectively destroys 2 square miles of Illinois, but using hundreds of lives as guinea pigs is more desirable that killing millions if this type of weapon fell into the wrong hands.
Denver International Airport-Men in Black HQ?
The center of information is centered underneath the Denver airport, run by aliens, meta-humans, and animal hybrids. They have their finger on the pulse of the world and have the power to manipulate even memories when they need someone to forget what can’t be explained.
The agency, protectors of the realm
There are crackpots, conspiracy theorists, and nut jobs. Almost all of their theories are true, but the Ninth Circle is adept at deflection. Even when the governor of Tennessee is threatened with assassination, there are agents to protect with high-tech gadgets that renders the most serious of the crackpots useless.
A change is coming
The Ninth is all powerful, omniscient. No one can stand against them. Or could they? Families are named for planets, and someone is hunting the group called Jupiter. There are whispers and prophesies that foretell of a stranger that will arrive to signal the coming. The coming of what is yet to be determined.
Van Jensen brings a high level of skill to the writing of this pilot issue, deftly building a folklore that is mystic and easy to understand simultaneously. I love the work on the content of the title, but I can’t express enough gratitude when a writer provides to the reader a prologue explaining what the heck families and circles mean, coupled with an epilogue that dives deeper into the backstory. Wood’s art is well defines but I actually enjoy the most on the panels with the alien life and hybrids. The colors pop and made me feel like I was playing a video game and this was a cut scene. Issue 1 is a wrap and the issue leaves you curious to see where it goes from here.
4.25 Trained Plasma Bracelets out of 5