Halloween Double Feature: The Cryptics/Teen Titans Lost Annual

3 out of 5 stars
IDW
Writers- Steve Niles, Benjamin Roman
Illustration- Benjamin Roman
Colors- Too Many to Count

The Cryptics is for kids. The book follows a group of young movie monsters before they grow up to be icons. Wolfy the werewolf, Drac the vampire, Sea-Boy the little creature from the Black Lagoon and Jackie Jekyll/Hyde are neighborhood friends who go one wild adventures.

The first issue is a series of short vignettes into the everyday lives of the Cryptics. They are cute little comic strips beefed up as full blown comics. The second issue concerns Wolfy being mistakingly sentenced to Heck and the rest of the gang set out to rescue him. They are joined by a crybaby Vinny Helsing and meet the Grim Reaper himself. In issue three, the group fights Nazis and penguins in the Arctic, during their search for Frankenstein’s Monster.

Benjamin Roman’s penciling is fun and bubbly and the various colorists that lend their talent to each tale give each story it’s own look and feel. The colors are bright and colorful, and even though the pencils lack depth and detail, each page conveys a simplistically interesting environment. In the short story “Identity Crisis,” Jackie Jekyll creates a device that alters the world around them, creating a series of pages with various art styles. From markers and animation to dark, moody shading and psychodelic images, this short tale provides a lot to look at.

This is a simple comic book and it knows just how innocent it is meant to be. Characters often refrain from using bad words for no other reason than the fact that it would be deemed inappropriate. That doesn’t mean grown ups won’t enjoy it too. I thought it was a fun read. An amusing, yet somewhat misplaced joke about seeing a porn between Wolfy’s werewolf father and Bride of Frankenstein mother is the only inappropriate joke in the book. The rest is wholesome fun.

****

3.5 out of 5 stars
DC Comics
Writer- Bob Haney
Pencils- Jay Stephens
Inks- Mike Allred
Color- Laura Allred

The Teen Titans team up with John F. Kennedy in space in the 60’s. Need I say more?

The Lost Annual harkens back to the good old days of yesteryear. Not only does the story take place in the 1960s, but it is also meant to be just like a comic book from the era. Alliteration and over dramatics exist in full force in these pages and the psychedelic nature of the comic is played off as normal for the time period. If you’ve ever read a comic book from before the 1980s, you’ll understand the faux-Silver Age science fiction action that the creative team has created.

The story revolves around the original Teen Titans, Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Speedy and Aqualad, foiling the abduction and replacement of John F. Kennedy. They travel to the mop topped alien home world where they meet their leader, a bodiless brain in a jar, and discover that they need JFK to lead their race to victory against an army of wild and groovy beast men.

The art team of Jay Stephens and the Allreds create an absolutely beautiful world that is equal parts classic and post-modern. The sharp, basic colors create a glowing world that is referential of old school comics, but also creates its own stylized renditions. The alien leader, space ships and action all combine to make a comic that is out of this world. Get this book for the art alone.

This comic is dripping with nostalgia. Fans of wild science fiction adventures, the original Teen Titans or just appreciators of a time long forgot will love this adventure.

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