The Department Of Truth #1 hits your local comic book shop on September 30, but thanks to Image Comics, Monkeys Fighting Robots has an advance review for our readers.
Wow, it must be the pandemic or 2020 in general, but The Department Of Truth was so intense it felt like someone was going to drive a nail through my hand as I read the book. Martin Simmonds art is so gorgeously disturbing that, if it were a film, it would be the scariest movie ever. The jitteriness of Aditya Bidikar’s letter work is going to have me questioning reality for the next week. When you add this to James Tynion IV’s slow burn of a story, it makes for a blockbuster of a comic book.
Tynion IV takes all the best parts of Fight Club, X-Files, Dark City, The Thirteenth Floor, Netflix’s Mindhunter, and The Matrix and delivers a disturbing tale with such detail that, when combined with Simmonds’ art, you can smell the world from within the comic book. Tynion IV worldbuilds at a tremendous pace and also creates a vast mystery at the same time. The Department Of Truth #1 is like a great magic trick with illusion and sleight of hand, and the last page will compel you to read the next issue.
When filmmaker David Fincher dreams at night, he sees the world as a Simmonds-drawn comic book. The splatters, scratchiness, and double exposures get under your skin, but there is also something about Simmonds’ art that is organic and familiar that draws you and creates added tension. The angles Simmonds uses in the above set of panels is a prime example of intensity and movement. If you’ve ever been car sick before, you understand the main character Cole Turner’s pain. You can feel Cole’s sway across the page, and everything is directed at the one clear shot of eyes in those five panels creating an intense confrontation between characters. The angles on the four bottom panels also take you up and down and you start to feel car sick yourself the more you look at it.
Bidikar’s letter work in the first issue is so amazing that he deserves an Eisner. The design of the word balloons and narration boxes adds so much to the story. The tension that he creates is like bamboo shoots under the fingernails! The style shouldn’t work, it’s stylistically unfinished, but it works so well. Bidikar’s letter work enforces the tension and lack of trust. As an added bonus, I became uncomfortable with myself because I was comfortable with Bidikar’s style by the end of the issue.
The Department Of Truth #1 is everything great about comic books right now. It has a big-budget film quality with independent ideas. Tynion IV, Simmonds, and Bidikar take risks, and it pays off with a fantastic first issue, and it will be something Monkeys Fighting Robots will talk about when “Best of 2020” comes around.
Do you have The Department Of Truth on your pull list? Comment below with your thoughts.