Writer/Letterer: Iolanda Zanfardino
Artist: Elisa Romboli
Publisher: Image Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A high-octane LGBTQ+ road trip through all of the greatest cities in Europe.
Think Thelma and Louise meets The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Doctor Magdalene “Mag” Träumer is a scientist working for a pharma-tech company and she is on the edge of a giant breakthrough in modern medicine. She is also a recluse, who spends all of her time on her work, which is why she is separated from her husband.
She suddenly discovers she has “resigned” from her job and her research, which she has put nearly six years of work into, when it is stolen from her. So, the only logical course of action is to go to a bar and get drunk. She passes out in her car to find that it has been stolen by a strange woman.
Who is the strange woman in Doctor Träumer’s car and what are her intentions with Doctor Träumer and her car?
Zanfardino’s writing is super-attuned to each character. Doctor Träumer’s dialogue is so optimistic and infectious while you can feel the slime dripping off each word said by her boss.
Romboli’s art makes the world of A Thing Called Truth seem lived-in. From the everything-has-its-place of Doctor Träumer’s lab to her absolute mess of an apartment and her car with papers scattered everywhere, Doctor Träumer feels like someone everybody knows.
Romboli works on colors as well, and they give the book a life of its own. She gives each location in the book its own distinct color: Doctor Träumer’s lab is a sterile light green, her apartment is a lonely blue, outside of her work is a bright orange/yellow. These colors guide you through Doctor Träumer’s backstory subliminally.
Zanfardino is on letters for this issue, and she knocks them out of the park. Her sound effects are fantastic! You can hear the “shhwaff” of Doctor Träumer dropping a huge pile of unread mail and the “hahahaha” of evil laughter from her boss.
The story opens with a dramatic chase scene and leads into a double-page spread that kicks the story off with an eye-popping launch.
Romboli’s character design for Doctor Träumer is incredibly well thought out. Her facial expressions are so varied and different in each panel that you can really tell what is going on in her head.
Zanfardino and Romboli use a non-linear storytelling method that works well for the manic story they are telling. A huge double-page spread hooks the reader with action and then slows down to tell the story of how the characters get to that situation.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
The pacing left a little to be desired. Doctor Träumer has her entire life flipped upside down very quickly. There isn’t any time to deal with the impact of these changes.
Other than Doctor Träumer, almost none of the characters in this story have any real character, for lack of a better term. They mostly seem to just be playing archetypes rather than having any depth or substance.
While obviously important to the story, there are a lot of word balloons that take up quite a bit of space in the art. It could be a bit jarring but shouldn’t affect the enjoyment of the story.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
A Thing Called Truth maintains a steady balance of comedy, social commentary, and action to keep any kind of reader interested. Whether it’s jumping a car over a bridge within the first three pages, having corrupt “pharma bros” steal research to jack up the prices, or trying to make up for not having a beer since grad school, Zanfardino and Romboli keep this book lighthearted while using it to send a message. And that’s the kind of story that everybody needs to read.
A Thing Called Truth is billed as an LGBTQ+ road trip story and, while there isn’t any romance in the first issue, there is enough of a hook in this first issue to keep anybody coming back to see how Doctor Magdalene Träumer and her mystery driver fall for each other.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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