Department of Truth #15 ADVANCE REVIEW: haunting art, evocative lettering, amazing story skills

Writer: James Tynion IV; Artist: David Romero; Letterer: Aditya Bidikar; Designer: Dylan Todd; Editor: Steve Foxe.

Get in your bunkers and put on your tinfoil hats, everyone, because this week The Department of Truth #15 from Image Comics begins diving into the Department itself. With a different narrative format and new artist, this issue gets to work with more world building (yay Mothman!), while laying the groundwork for something bigger on the horizon. The Department of Truth, for those just tuning in, is a secret organization that . . . “handles” manifestations of intense belief: these are tulpas. Beyond that, the Department seeks to maintain a balance, a status quo. This all sounds well and good, but then there’s the nagging question that haunts the depths of imagination: Who gets to decide the “status quo”?

This issue’s format resembles a top secret dossier covering a debriefing in the Department. Some responses and questions are redacted. Small photos are paperclipped to the transcripts. This is honestly where Bidikar’s lettering works its magic. This title constantly plays with narrative presentation and the lettering keeps pace each and every time. As if stamped out on a typewriter, the letters are unevenly inked and flawed, which lends authenticity to this “government document”. I was enthralled immediately by the attention to detail and downright enthusiasm of work that I see in the varied lettering.

David Romero joins this issue with some amazing art. This particular issue creates a lot of division between art and prose in keeping with the dossier-esque format, but I didn’t mind because Romero’s art is often given entire pages to breathe. The art is haunting and malevolent, implying far darker secrets than are revealed to us in these pages. There is at once a realism and dreaminess to the illustrations that contrasts the very methodical “file” format; this captures the spirit of the overall title, as myth and reality blur to the tune of human belief. On