REVIEW: ‘The Department of Truth,’ Issue #9

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Department of Truth #9

The Department of Truth #9 is published by Image Comics, written by James Tynion IV, art by Martin Simmonds, and letters by Aditya Bidikar. Having met up with Hawk last issue, Cole now travels with the aged Department official as the veteran gives him a long-winded lesson about all things “magic” in their world.

For the last eight issues of The Department of Truth, writer Tynion has effectively melded intriguing world-building with a character-driven narrative that is at times downright terrifying conceptually. His ability to balance the numerous aspects of this world has been a credit to him as a writer. Unfortunately, with The Department of Truth #9, it seems his story has finally gotten a bit away from him. Shortly after it starts, this issue quickly gets submerged under a wall of exposition that it never recovers from.

Before this exposition comes along, we are treated with another trip back in time. This opening segment gives us a look at one of Hawk’s earlier projects for the Department. We see how he uses the media to manipulate the public, planting concepts and ideas through various techniques into the shared public psyche. It is an interesting opening that delivers its information in an intriguing and effective way.

From here, The Department of Truth #9 jumps back to the present as Cole and Hawk are preparing to head out of their temporary lodging. They have a mission to deal with the Black Hats base. And along the way, Hawk intends to teach Cole about the subtle art of “magic” in their world.

For the remainder of the issue, the story is dominated by Hawk as he gives the kind of long-winded, convoluted lecture that haunts college grads long after they have left academia. It’s like asking somewhen how they got the tire off their car and them beginning their explanation with the invention of the wheel itself. I can only imagine this is Hawk’s first opportunity to talk to someone that doesn’t have the rank to tell him to shut up in years, so he’s making the most of it. And the length of this speech is not aided in any way by the grossly intolerant personality that Hawks wears on his sleeve.

Multiple times during The Department of Truth #9, Hawk makes some rather insensitive comments aimed at Cole’s sexual orientation. These moments are mostly ignored by Cole, I assume due to Hawk’s higher rank than his, but I wish some commentary about the inappropriateness of Hawk’s outdated insults could’ve been included.

While the narrative provided a less than enjoyable slog for me to wade through, the art did all it could to make Hawk’s ramblings more tolerable. Simmonds panels display every piece of background information with the dark style, and imagery fans of the series have come to expect.

All of the long-winded discussion throughout this issue is brought to the reader with the signature font style and easy-to-follow layout that letter Bidikar has always delivered. Despite some exceptionally wordy panels, Bidikar manages to never steer the reader wrong with the story’s layout.

When all is said and done, The Department of Truth #9 is a significant letdown. The exposition that dominates this issue becomes overbearing far too quickly, and its delivery coming from the most unlikable character in the series doesn’t help it run any smoother. Hopefully, this will prove to be a singular bump in the road for this series.

The Department of Truth #9 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

The Department of Truth #9
2.5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, The Department of Truth #9 is a significant letdown. The exposition that dominates this issue becomes overbearing far too quickly, and its delivery coming from the most unlikable character in the series doesn’t help it run any smoother. Hopefully, this will prove to be a singular bump in the road for this series.