Indie Comics Review: THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH #11
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Martin Simmonds
Colours: Martin Simmonds
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
The Department of Truth #11: America was built on a lie that’s never quite come true. The cracks in that idealistic vision have inspired dangerous people to do horrible things in the name of an America that’s never really existed. Hawk Harrison knows the genuine story of this country, and he’s ready to give Cole Turner a history lesson.
In The Department of Truth #11, James Tynion IV’s Bigfoot story continues. Cole, Hawk, and the Department’s Ranger close in on the beast. While last issue dealt with the history of wild fictions, Hawke and Darla explain to Cole about how the legend of Bigfoot developed.
I was quite struck by the sequence where they encounter Bigfoot. Like most issues, there is a lot of text. The nature of the title requires a lot of exposition. And this story has added full pages of text from the Bigfoot hunter Evan’s journal. But the actual encounter with the sasquatch is completely silent. There is no dialogue or sound effects for nearly four pages, until the sound of a Darla’s rifle killing it breaks the spell.
I also found Martin Simmond’s device of overlapping concentric circles quite an effective method of showing the monster’s damaging effect on reality around him. It is interesting that Simmond’s usual slightly abstract style gives the normal world a “fuzzy” feel. But the circles that represent unreality are clearly defined and geometrically perfect. Drawing them that way underscores that they are unnatural – something not of this world. It’s touches like this that show Simmonds is the perfect artist for this title.
I also was somewhat surprised by the optimistic tone the story took at the end. Last issue made it clear that Evan the Bigfoot hunter needed to be killed as well as the creature. But in the end, Hawke decides to spare him, with Darla and Cole’s approval. This seems to indicate that whatever things the Department’s agents may have done, some of them still retain some humanity. But when Hawke declares that they won’t tell the Director about that, it seems to imply that he would not imply.
It had occurred to me, that if the Department turns out to be the villains of the series, that it might fall to Cole to take the Department down. But perhaps Cole will have to take the reigns of control from Director Oswald, and change the Department for the better instead. Perhaps the Department isn’t the problem. Perhaps it’s the leadership.
The teaser at the end of the story intrigues me. It implies that the next storyline will be delving into the JFK assassination, the grandaddy of American conspiracy theories. And it’s one that directly involves the Department’s Director. It promises to be an important chapter in Tynion’s overall story.
Not only did I not have any problems with The Department of Truth #11, the tone of optimism evident in this issue pleasantly surprised me, making it even better than usual.
The Department of Truth #11 is a standout issue in an already amazing series. I just love digging into this fascinating world of shifting reality that Tynion has constructed. This some truly ground-breaking storytelling.