THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH #1 & 2
What is the truth? Is it a provable state that can be tangibly demonstrated through science, math or observation... or is it something far more nebulous, is the truth may be really just the state of things in reality fueled by the dominant belief of the people in this world...and if so who protects that truth?
What if every conspiracy you ever heard of was more than that? That’s the central theme behind this new series. We are thrown headlong into the world of some of the most famous conspiracy theories in history but they are given power beyond mere happenings in the river of human existence by writer James Tynion IV, starting with one of the most debated ones in American history… then plunging forward to here and now and the introduction of the main character FBI investigator named Cole Turner who finds his world turned on its head when he witnesses something first hand that should not exist, yet does. These books are moody, dark and filled with a constant sense of unease; this unease is reflected in the words and mood of the main character as he finds himself dragged rather reluctantly further and further down the rabbit hole. Issue one really establishes the premise of the series while issue #2 delves deeper into a specific case that the main character has a personal history with, examining Cole more closely, while offering insight into what the actual Department Of Truth does and how it functions.
Tynion twists and tweaks events that have become ingrained in our culture in superbly interesting ways making the things we take for granted in the real world that would ordinarily seem mundane or even ridiculous and gives them a true sense of menace…and the twist at the end of issue #1 is like an ice-cold plunge into dark unknown waters in comic form because it challenges ones view of a real life person in such a shocking and truly original way. There are several other plot threads inside the main narrative including a very beautiful woman in a red dress who’s a presence and whose identity, while not specified, is both intriguing and frightening all at once more so than the monstrous focus character in the second issue. Again it seems a very deliberate play on a specific theme about a woman in a red dress but at this point, I am just guessing. The not so subtle parallels that Tynion draws between what is happening in America today in the real world and in this fictional one add weight and gravitas to the overall story and while it’s very much a work of fiction that comparison is a chilling reminder of the divisions that exist now in the world we live in.
The art by Martin Simmonds is a perfect match for the story. It’s a gritty, abstract fever dream style. Warped perspectives, colors that bleed into each other across sharp jagged lines, twisted buckled edges and paneling that follows it’s own set of rules rather than convention are the order of the day. It reminds me very much of books like Arkham Asylum where the art style is a mirror of the skewed version of reality as it is in the story as well as through the eyes of the main character. The art style is never static, rigid or boring but at the same time, Simmonds never allows the style to break down and become difficult to follow. The focus-subject character of the second issue is a really great example of being able to construct something horrific in the abstract style which makes you question what it actually is or isn’t and adds to the mystery.
The comics design itself from cover through look and layout, art and lettering from start to finish is unique and all the elements together make for a compelling read.
THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH#1 and #2 form a superbly crafted debut providing an entry point into a world of secrets and conspiracies whose central premise is cleverly illustrated through a series of twists of real world ideas and events, where up is down and down is up...a future classic in my opinion
THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH #1 & 2: What is the Truth?
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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