Writer: James Tynion IV, Artist: Martin Simmonds, Letterer: Aditya Bidikar, Designer: Dylan Todd, Editor: Steve Foxe.
Image Comics drops The Department of Truth #9 this week with a certain casualness that fails to adequately prepare a reader for what lays beyond the cover. The previous 8 issues of this title have managed to keep readers ensnared in a mixture of constant confusion and conspiratorial certainty. This issue is no different.
Simmonds’ artwork carries with it the erratic line work that perfectly meshes with the maelstrom of uncertainty lead character Cole is feeling. Tynion’s writing sustains itself by answering questions the reader doesn’t know they need to ask, while planting seeds for answers that have been desired since issue 1. Each issue I read, I come away with brand new questions and half-answers, that serve to keep me engaged enough to return issue after issue. The art depicts this uneasy balance of knowing/unknowing with deliberately uncertain lines and mercurial panelwork.
Cover by Michael Avon Oeming
Tynion and Simmonds are perfectly in sync as they take the protagonist and reader on parallel journeys of the physical and intellectual variety. With no spoilers given (duh) we see a run-of-the-mill car ride delivered through Simmonds’ visuals, while Tynion’s prose lead us through a history of esotericism, both colliding intermittently in panels of supreme weight to the story.
The merging of these two journeys is seamless by the end of the book. We arrive at an interesting new place in terms of what we believe. We also get a few answers, but not so many as to keep me from purchasing the next issue out of sheer excitement and curiosity. If you ever wanted to know what Tulpas, Alistair Crowley, and a Denver airport have in common, be sure to pick up this Image Comics book from your Local Comic Book Shop or Comixology on 5/26/21!
For more of Martin Simmonds’ rad art, peruse his website to stay up to date on his projects.