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Department Of Truth 1 Main

"Department of Truth #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Image Comics

article-cover

Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Martin Simmonds
Lettered by Aditya Bidikar
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 30th, 2020

Review:

The Kennedy assassination. Hollow earth. Elvis. Conspiracy theories have been a staple of the United States for generations. They're even more frightening now in the age of the internet, where information – and misinformation – can spread like wildfire. What if all of these crazy ideas were true? Or rather, what if they had the potential to be true? That's the basic premise behind The Department of Truth and it presents a slew of rather chilling possibilities.

I wasn't entirely sure if The Department of Truth fit here at first. It seems more like a political thriller on the surface. That certainly plays a part, but this is a horror book through and through. Writer James Tynion IV digs into this unsettling idea through the eyes of Cole Turner, an FBI agent light on field experience, who has been researching far-right and far-left conspiracy theories. This caught the attention of this covert department.

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The real scary part of this comic is just how plausible it all sounds. It's easy to laugh at the idea of lizard people, but when you put it in a way that makes sense, it sends a shiver up your spine. That's the strength of conspiracy theories. There's just enough there that you could believe them, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary.

Martin Simmonds' artwork can take a little getting used to, however that settles in after a few pages. It's unlike anything else on the stands today and it's a perfect fit for this story. We're dealing with the shadowy, secretive parts of government and society, and Simmonds' work mirrors that. There are times where Turner is barely visible as darkness seems to engulf him. His retelling of recent events comes through like a haze, which again, is a great fit, as it's hard to believe all of this on the surface.

H.P. Lovecraft often described a kind of horror that would drive you insane, positing that the human mind wouldn't be able to process seeing something as unnatural as Cthulhu. That's how Turner must feel during certain sequences of The Department of Truth #1. There is no way this could be real. You can feel his grip on reality start to loosen with each page. Simmonds' work is full of rich textures, giving each image a unique and frightening aspect.

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Just as the artwork can put you off-guard, so does the lettering. Aditya Bidikar uses word balloons that look like they were cut from scraps of paper and thrown onto the page like a strange and disturbing collage...or rather a ransom note. The balloons have these scratchy outlines to them that never line up. This contrasts with Turner's narration, presented like scraps from a typewriter, showing his by-the-book nature. The guy is buttoned up, which makes this foreign element all the more terrifying.

The Department of Truth is made even scarier based on the events in the world today with stuff like Qanon brainwashing everyone's weird uncles and even some politicians. It hits almost too close to reality at times, but it's so worth the read. It helps that the final page is such a great cliffhanger that you'll be begging for more. Do not miss this comic.

Grades:

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Art: fivestars
Overall: 5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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