REVIEW: ‘The Department of Truth,’ Issue #4

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Department of Truth #4 - But Why Tho?

The Department of Truth #4 is published by Image Comics, written by James Tynion IV, with art by Martin Simmonds, and letters by Aditya Bidikar. Moving on from their last case, the Department of Truth has found a much closer threat to contend with. Someone is trying to weave a new narrative for the history of the United States of America. What’s even more interesting than the conspiracy though, is the motive behind it.

Up until now, each issue of The Department of Truth has been a mostly self-contained story. They have felt like an extended introduction into the world, how conspiracies work in it, as well as how the Department deals with preventing the reality-altering effects they can have on the world. With The Department of Truth #4 however, it seems the bigger storyline is about to start moving forward, and the way Tynion slowly draws the reader into the point of the issue is nothing short of masterful.

As the issue opens, we see two men talking from the vantage points of several cameras placed around the room they occupy. One of them is deeply troubled as he tries to explain to the other this vast network of conspiracies he’s uncovering.

It is soon revealed that the cameras are the work of the Department as they monitor the conversation. Here, the story splits in two as the narrative takes turns following the on-camera discussion, as well as another between Lee and Cole. Lee is walking Cole toward a new way of thinking. A way that will be crucial for Cole if he is to be an asset to the Department. It is in Lee’s side of the discussion that Tynion’s writing truly shines.

Like the best of teachers, Lee never gives Cole any answers. Rather, he leads him to the edge and waits for Cole to make the leap himself. By forcing him to earn knowledge, both the final conclusion as well as the road to getting there are far more likely to stick.

What that conclusion is, and where it leads the developing narrative of the book is something I cannot utter here. But it is big. Not only for the future of the Department but for Cole himself. The potential power of what will come out of the on camera conversation may require careful handling, and Lee seems to be a believer in on the job training.

While I originally didn’t connect with The Department of Truth’s art style, it continues to grow on me with each passing issue. And it certainly hits the best so far with The Department of Truth #4. Simmonds choice of angles, lighting, and color all create the perfect atmosphere for this tale. I cannot imagine another art style at this junction depicting the agents of the Department.

The continued quality of this book shows just as strongly in Bidikar’s letter work. The unique style the lettering implements continues to meld with the art perfectly.

The Department of Truth #4 succeeds in providing a new level of excellence for the story while setting up what could be even better stories for the future.

The Department of Truth #4 is available December 23rd wherever comics are sold.

Department of Truth #4
5

TL;DR

The Department of Truth #4 succeeds in providing a new level of excellence for the story while setting up what could be even better stories for the future.