The Department of Truth is back this week with artist Tyler Boss teaming up with series writer James Tynion IV to delve deeper into those who work for the department. This issue delves into the back story of Doc Hynes, who serves as the resident tinfoil hat-wearing agent who works in the basements of the Department of Truth. More specifically, we learn how his interest in The Men In Black brought him to the department. It’s a wild ride of alien encounters and piecing together the “truth” that drives the department.
This is a good book in large part because it takes its time. The pace is slow and steady, first opening in the Department of Truth basement where DoT head Lee Harvey Oswald is poking around and trying to figure out Doc Hynes. Oswald, like the reader, is interested to know how a tin-foil hat-wearing man in a suit found himself at the department. Through this character, Tynion reveals a teenager curious about the rise in UFO sightings, but even more curious about the people who report the sightings. Some of which have had their lives ruined because of it. It’s a clever angle to take with UFOs, especially since there’s strong evidence the rise in UFO sightings is largely due to public perception.
In a random quiet diner, we learn about Hynes’ interest in UFO sightings and the people behind them, which leads to some interesting back story on a few folks who reported them. The Men in Black referred to in this book aren’t what you might expect, which adds a nice surprise and unique angle on the characters you might not expect. All-told, Tynion does well to link some rather well-known conspiracies to the Department of Truth and further weave together an insane tapestry of conspiracy theory lore.
Boss does a great job with pacing from panel to panel, and even within each panel. His style is clean and solitary, revealing how alone Hynes is at times, which ties into a rather scary ending to his back story. Speaking of, the encounter Hynes endures is freaky, blending different familiar ideas into one new idea that leaves both Hynes and the reader shook. Boss is joined by color artist Roman Titov, who utilizes single tones of color to bring out the characters and their surroundings. Midway through the book, when we get full back stories on a few folks who spotted UFOs, the art switches to an old school magazine-style cast in purple which conveys a simpler and cheaper printing style. The changeup in style and color helps lift these scenes up and create a metatextual experience.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar are also well done — steady and certain when Hynes tells his story to a mysterious man at the diner, and wavy and weird when things go to hell later on. Font choices help make the magazine spreads midway through the book look as if they were written on a typewriter, while word balloons–and some neat effects later on–lift up the tone of each character in the moment.
It was possibly on purpose, but there is a key scene where Hynes endures an attack that doesn’t quite make the purpose of the enemy certain. It leaves one confused and unsure, but also doesn’t fit in with a grander purpose. It’s a shocking bit, but leaves you wanting. Another gripe with the structure of this story is that it is so far removed from the main story it’s hard to gather much beyond it being a fun side story and confirmations of other conspiracies known to the Department of Truth.
The Department of Truth brings up some rather large conspiracies in issue #7 that even casual sci-fi and fantasy fans should enjoy. The fact is, this series continues to weave conspiracies into a larger narrative, further impressing with a grander scheme by some of the best creators today.
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