Department of Truth: Chapter Three Black and White
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Martin Simmonds
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
It’s like a dog chasing it’s own tale. That relationship between TRUTH and REALITY, a change or transition of one resulting in action by the other. Situations like Covid-19 and the recent U.S. election are clear examples of this phenomenon occurring. Image Comics Department of Truth # 3, written by James Tynion IV, tackles another unfortunate scenario that has taken place all too often.
This issue examines the complex conversation of “Fake News” and “False Flags” with probably the most sensitive topics. By framing the story in the context of a mother grieving the loss of a child via a school shooting, Tynion takes on the subject from all fronts. First presenting us with Mary, examining all the ways the incident has affected her. Mary is raw with the pain, there is a hole in her heart that her son’s death has caused. The art of this comic compliments the internal chaos Mary is experiencing. The dark, despairing watercolor like feel helps set the tone of the comic, surreal and yet so real. Random images are juxtapositioned on panels, dollar bills here or guns there. Each symbolizing the means or motivations that led to Mary’s unfortunate reality.
It was amazing to witness the change in thoughts and ideas that Mary experienced throughout the issue. Tynion has Mary confront other’s reality and it is amazing how quickly truth can be altered. This showcases the strength of the subject matter for this comic. The truth is at it’s heart a personal which makes it problematic. This issue doesn’t shy away from any plausible perspective on the school shooting phenomenon.
Cole and his partners arrival unfortunately only makes matters worse for Mary. Closer to the truth than she had been thanks to a file provided by Black Hat, The Department of Truth steps in. Comics like this always force me to seperate main character from the “hero” I always look for in comics. is the work that Cole and Ruby are performing necessary and good? Are we better off without the information, the truth - which was always said to set us free? Does that mean the Department of Truth seeks to keep us shackled in chains.
The Department of Truth seems to be an X Files for the new generation. The truth is out there and we need to get a handle on it would be the agency line. Powerfully compelling and possibly controversial, this comic’s covers a conversation that needs to take place. By grounding this issue and series in subject that we confront almost daily, The Department of Truth echos the question of Ian McKellen’s Magneto - “Are you sure you saw what you think you saw?”.