James Tynion IV has been hard at work delivering some spectacular narratives lately, from the ongoing Joker War arc in DC’s Batman to guiding the growing popularity of Something is Killing the Children. Not satisfied with juggling two fantastic stories, Mr. Tynion IV has added another superb title to his plate: Department of Truth.
After Special Agent Cole Turner finds himself at a flat-earth convention, he’s sure that it will be nothing more than business as usual: getting information on the dark corners of the internet where the wildest theories are stoked and shared. Many dismiss it as hogwash, of course, but to those that attend – well, it’s their Truth.
What happens at that convention will turn Cole’s life upside down, and reveal a world of shadows and secrecy beyond imagination.
It seems almost hauntingly fitting that one of the best comics I’ve read in the past few months centers exclusively around the dangers of conspiracy theories, but it just worked out that way.
Department of Truth offers a healthy handful of twists in its opening issue, and just enough red herrings to take you on a delightful intellectual adventure. You think it’s going to be a (somewhat) predictable thriller around keeping the truth of a flat-earth, fake moon landings, alien invasions and more, a secret. Instead, Tynion explores a much more troubling and relevant phenomenon: the concept that enough belief in something can actually make it so. Cole refers to this process as a Tulpa, or a thought form given a body.
This process is being manufactured and engineered by shady billionaires, guiding enough interested parties to conventions and “opening their eyes” to the “truth” in an attempt to reshape the world around us.
Of course, we would have no idea what that sort of world is like. The very premise that simply repeating something that is blatantly untrue can ultimately become reality…one has to wonder if Tynion may be reaching a bit too far with his fantastical plots.
(This is the part where you realize I’m being sarcastic.)
I also really enjoyed the last minute twist – I’ll save that spoiler for you…
In any case, the writing is superb, as one could expect from Tynion – but I was actually quite impressed with Martin Simmonds artwork. Reflecting the sort of style that makes you distrust your own eyes, the faded colors and obvious strokes make it seem like a collection of memories that you’re not quite sure to trust or not…an ongoing theme that is brought to life skillfully in Simmonds work.
Overall, I found Department of Truth to be fantastic. It is top-tier material to be optioned for a series on Netflix – something between The X Files and Black Mirror.
Watch this series. It’s gonna get wacky.