In Department of Truth #7 from Image Comics, Lee Harvey Oswald begins his request to understand what the truth really is. Is it in the skies, in the shape of flying sources, or is it in the guise of something far more sinister? Find out in your next mighty Major Spoilers review!
DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH #7
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Tyler Boss
Colorist: Roman Titov
Letter: Aditya Bidikar
Editor: Steve Foxe
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: April 3rd, 2021
Previously in Department of Truth: the world is not what we thought it truly was. History is malleable, the present is plastic, and the future is whatever a sufficient number of people believe it will be. The calendar is wrong, Charlemagne never existed, and Lee Harvey Oswald most certainly didn’t kill John Kennedy. There are forces, malign powers, that seek to influence the great herds of humanity and shape the future in their own image…
WATCH THE SKIES!
There’s a strain of horror fiction that matches the security agencies of the world against the malign outer dark of cosmic horror. The most famous example is, of course, The X Files. But going further back, you have television shows like Project Blue Book to provide a sense of the way creators have attempted to mash up the procedural with the definitely out there. Horror writers like Laird Barron often have hard boiled detectives, or security operatives, stumble across manifestations of the unknown, to great effect. Roleplaying has gotten in on the act, especially with Delta Green, which posits all sorts of intelligence agency operatives freelancing in their efforts to stop cosmic horrors from swallowing the Earth whole.
Department of Truth is another in this particular sub-genre, and what a stand out example it is. Department of Truth #7 takes us backs to the months after JFKs assassination, where the supposed assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, is admitted to the Department of Truth, and its efforts to stop objective reality becoming slave to subjective forces. Here, we get a sense of the impact the flying saucer phenomenon had on this fictional universe, with an unnerving, at times scary issue, which has proven to be one of the highlights of the series thus far.
It is 1964. Oswald is coming to grips with what the Department of Truth stands for. He comes across a young man, Doc Hynes, who is cataloging magazines recording the UFO phenomenon that has gripped America since the 1940s. Hynes relates a terrifying tale of his own interactions with the so-called Men in Black. Department of Truth #7 is his story.
And what a story. Writer James Tynion IV uses flashback and extracts from faux UFO zines to build a scary encounter with a Man in Black. Hynes has been getting close, too close in fact, to unearthing exactly what the MiB are attempting to hide, culminating in one of the spookiest encounters I’ve read in comics.
HE’S THE BOSS
New series’ artist Tyler Boss brings a sort of pop art feel to the issue, which ties in nicely with the timeframe in question. It lends an otherworldly quality to proceedings, helping the reader. Poses are stiff, but conveying emotion nonetheless. Young Doc Hynes exudes that youthfulness and zest the Department of Truth agent he meets in a diner has had beaten out of him by experience. The recreation of zine material covering the early history of UFOology is fascinating and adds a verisimilitude that makes a later encounter all the more terrifying.
Hynes’s encounter is too good to spoil, but the way Boss conveys a sense of isolation in the dark, how he positions the characters, how he shapes the characters, all adds up to a terrifying sequence of panels that are simply too unnerving for the faint of heart. If ever there is a television adaptation of this series, this section may be the most memorable of the entire series. It brings into question how firm the underpinnings of reality really are, all with only a few panels of art and color.
BOTTOM LINE: TRUTH?
Department of Truth #7 is a step up in an already high quality series that found its footing quickly and has produced many entertaining, challenging issues. This issue ups the ante even more, embracing some of its horror roots in a fantastic sequence that perfectly marries stories and art.
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Department of Truth #7
Doc Hynes just wanted to find out about UFOs, but soon finds himself wrapped up in something greater and more mysterious. Once you’re in, tin foil hat and all, you’re in for life.