Updated: Feb 28
Writer: James Tynion IV
Illustrator: Martin Simmonds
Publisher: Image Comics
Department of Truth, issue #1, cover, Image Comics, Martin Simmonds
WHAT IS IT?
Starting off a new ongoing conspiracy thriller, the first issue of Department of
Truth follows FBI Agent Cole Turner as he's dragged into a world of secret conspiracies.
Think Men in Black meets The Davinci Code.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Agent Cole Turner's job is to look into online communities of white supremacists. When he goes to a conspiracy theorist convention held by one of these groups; Cole is approached by uber-wealthy Texas oil company heads Kenneth and Bertram Boulet, who take him from the public convention and bring him into an exclusive party. There, he's shown footage proving an enormous conspiracy theory that shakes the way he views his job and the world around him.
As the Boulets drag him down further into the rabbit hole Cole is faced with agents of the Department of Truth, who are determined to make sure no one else has seen what Cole has been exposed to. But what secrets await him in the shadows? Who are the Department of Truth? And will Cole be able to evade them and survive?
The biggest strength of the comic comes from Simmonds's art. From beautiful establishing shots, to horrifying disturbing imagery, to simple, quiet shots of people, Simmonds has a mastery over all.
Simmonds's color work especially makes the art reminiscent of late '80s early '90s painted DC/Vertigo works like Dave McKean's work on Black Orchid or Duncan Fegredos on Kid Eternity. A kind of art style that has been largely absent from mainstream comics for at least the past decade, maybe two.
Simmonds's line art is akin to that of John J. Muth, in that fewer lines get used but still masterfully create form in everyday objects. Aided by his liberal use of color to further increase the emotional delivery of each scene, the art pulls the reader in and doesn't let them go till the end.
Tynion is no less a master of his craft than Simmonds. He splendidly tackles a story that could easily fall into cliches and takes conspiracy fiction to a whole new place by the way of inventing a concept I can only describe as "Cosmic Collective Biofeedback."
Tynion also brilliantly balances out Cole's narration by intercutting it with the Department of Truth's interrogation. It's a perfectly fluid reading experience, which is difficult to do in a book with a single point of view and such a dramatic and serious tone.
Aditya Bidikar continues to be one of the most creative and inventive letterers in the comic industry, with a new dialogue balloon style that mirror the style of Simmonds's art, narration boxes that flow in with the red color scheme of the comic, and the choice of using upper-case letters for the dialogue, and mixed-case (with a beautiful typewriter typeface) for the narration.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
That we have to wait for more! It's one of the best comics out there, and I wish there was more of it already!
CONTENT WARNING: Use of mature language, and possibly disturbing imagery is present.
Department of Truth, issue #1, page #4-5, Image Comics, Martin Simmonds
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Tynion takes conspiracy thrillers to places never before explored, while Simmonds brings back an art style that comics have been missing for decades. This is one of the most perfectly done first issues I have ever read, and I'm sure the series will only keep getting better. This is one you don't want to miss.
If you love conspiracy thrillers, 90s era comics, and pulse-pounding mysteries, this is the perfect comic to add to your pull list.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV & Werther Dell'edera
Black Monday Murders by Jonathan Hickman & Tomm Coker
Kill Or Be Killed by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
If you like the art:
Dying is Easy by Joe Hill & Martin Simmonds
Kid Eternity by Grant Morrison & Duncan Fegredo
Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean
ABOUT THE CREATORS
James Tynion IV (@JamesTheFourth) - Writer
Prolific: Tynion is the best selling writer of Batman, and many other titles for DC Comics, including Detective Comics, Justice League Dark, and the New York Times best selling Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trilogy.
Indie Darling: He is also the co-creator of Wynd, Something is Killing The Children, Memetic, and the GLAAD award winning series, The Woods.
Dog Lover: He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY with his partner and their nice old dog.
Martin Simmonds (@Martin_Simmonds) - Artist
Indie Darling: Simmonds is a comic artist, and co-creator of Dying is Easy for IDW, Punks Not Dead for Black Crown, and Friendo for Vault Comics.
Name Recognition: He is also a contributing artist to Marvel's The Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett, and series cover artist for Marvel's Quicksilver: No Surrender, and Jessica Jones.
Outlander: Martin currently lives in Surrey, UK with his partner and their two year old son.
Aditya Bidikar (@adityab) - Letterer
Multitalented: Bidikar is a comics letterer, writer, and podcast host based in India.
Name Recognition: His recent work includes The White Trees, Little Bird, Bloodborne, and These Savage Shores.
Hustler: He also creates fonts which will soon be available to purchase from his website.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover
or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by
either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced
the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use
under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion
in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not
for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed
the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original
All Department of Truth characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof
are trademarks of and copyright James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds or
their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED