REVIEW: ‘ The Department of Truth,’ Issue #8

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Department of Truth #8

The Department of Truth #8 is published by Image Comics, written by James Tynion IV, art by Martin Simmonds, and letters by Aditya Bidikar. After taking a brief interlude over the last couple of issues to look at Oswald’s early days at The Department, the series returns to the present day to catch up with Cole and Ruby, who is just touching down in Denver. Before that, there is one brief interlude that has to be cleared between Oswald and a new addition to the book’s cast.

It is a testament to the abilities of the creative team that this series continues to captivate me. Even though The Department of Truth #8‘s focus is to begin another explanation of how an element of this story’s world works, it never fails to hold my interest and curiosity. Most books that are still eyeballs deep in explanations by issue eight generally lose my attention. It is a credit to the entire creative team that this is not the case here.

In the opening pages of this issue, we see Oswald having a clandestine meeting in Washington D.C. This meeting delivers a lot of content in a small number of panels. It elaborates on past events and sets the groundwork for the upcoming story arc the rest of this issue begins. That Tynion manages to pack all this in so small a portion of the book while keeping it all clear is an impressive feat.

Once the opening is complete, The Department of Truth #8 touches down in Denver with Cole and Ruby. While Cole struggles with the revelations he recently received, Ruby is desperately trying to get his head firmly focused on the here and now. Their reason for being in Denver is particularly dicey as the story prepares to illuminate both Cole and the reader about an aspect of The Department’s work it hasn’t gone into before. I have a feeling the coming issues are going to be crazy. While the build-up to what’s to come helps keep this story interesting despite its focus on setup, the element of this book that really shines is Ruby herself.

Throughout her time in The Department of Truth, Ruby has always projected a tough “shut up and do what you’re told” sort of company-woman attitude. And while that continues here, I can’t shake the feeling that there is more going on behind this facade. The way Tynion writes her, with just enough care for Cole, makes it feels like she isn’t just the company lapdog.

As The Department of Truth #8 returns to the modern-day narrative it began its run with, so too does original artist Simmonds return to this book’s artist duties. I can honestly say I am thrilled to see Simmonds back. The look this artist originally brought to this book is as unique as the story itself and complements the tone of the narrative perfectly.

Rounding out the book’s presentation is Bidikar’s letters. While the bulk of this book’s letter work continues the brilliant fusion of form and function the letters have utilized in the past to not only deliver the story but actively augment it, there is a small stumble here. When we are first reintroduced to Cole, the dialogue is presented in a unique format. While this format makes complete sense from an aesthetic perspective, I found it extremely difficult to read. While I love lettering that goes beyond simply conveying words, that must remain their primary goal. When a style is allowed to overwhelm that function, it is never good.

When all is said and done, The Department of Truth #8 delivers lots of world-building and setup infused with a generous portion of character to keep the story from growing stale.

The Department of Truth #8 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Department of Truth #8
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TL;DR

The Department of Truth #8 delivers lots of world-building and setup infused with a generous portion of character to keep the story from growing stale.