Indie Comics Review: THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH #7
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Tyler Boss
Colours: Roman Titov
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Department of Truth #7: It’s another deep dive into the Secret Archives as guest artist Tyler Boss (4 Kids Walk Into a Bank) joins James Tynion IV (Batman) and The Department of Truth to investigate sightings of flying saucers…and the strange men in black suits trying to cover up their existence. Hold onto your cows—the truth is out there!
The story in The Department of Truth #7 features another look back at Director Oswald’s early days with the Dpartment. We see his first meeting with Doc Hynes, who tells Oswald of how he came to join the Department of Truth.
We have seen in previous issues that Doc Hynes wears a tin foil hat. This is a common trope of someone with paranoid delusions about aliens. However, considering the nature of reality in this title’s world, I suspected that he may well be justified in his choice of headwear. And this issue proves his fears are indeed justified.
This issue deals with conspiracy theories surrounding UFO sightings and the related stories of mysterious “Men in Black” who act to cover up these sightings. The Men in Black in this title are not secret government agents, but apparent aliens.
I was also quite struck by the references to old Science Fiction magazines in the story. Magazines that tell stories of aliens and flying saucers. I recently read The Secret History of Twin Peaks and that book also drew on the connections between UFO sightings and the creators of such magazines. In a world where belief shapes reality, these magazines are likely to be causing the proliferation of UFO sightings.
Director Oswald ordering Cole Phelps to murder two journalists was a chilling turn that hinted that maybe he’s the villain of the book after all. However, we see a glimmer of humanity in his earlier days. While initially dismissive, he seems to take a liking to young Doc, even agreeing to curb his propensity for profanity to make Doc more comfortable. It makes me wonder about the experiences that have changed him in the intervening decades.
The Department of Truth #7 features another guest artist, Tyler Boss. Boss’ artwork is rather more grounded in realism than Martin Simmonds’ somewhat abstract style. Where Simmonds leaves a lot of the detail for the reader to fill in, Boss defines much of that detail for us. I find it telling that these past excursions are more clearly depicted.
I suspect that Simmonds’ abstract edge reflects the changeable nature of reality in this world. So, if the was more firmly defined in the past, but is becoming less so, does that mean reality is starting to break down? It may be the case that The Department and/or the Black Hat have gone too far in their manipulations of truth and now reality itself is unraveling.
The Department of Truth is not for every reader. Some people don’t like stories that make you think too much. Heady philosophical questions about the nature of reality aren’t their cup of tea. But for those of us who love that kind of book, this is as good as it gets.
The Department of Truth is not quite like anything I’ve ever read before. While there have been stories build around conspiracy theories being true Tynion flips the script by giving us a world where truth is not an absolute. It’s utter insanity, and I’m loving every bit of it.