The Department of Truth Volume 2: The City Upon a Hill Graphic Novel Review

From writer James Tynion IV, artist Martin Simmonds, letterer Aditya Bidikar, designer Dylan Todd, editor Steve Foxe, published by Image Comics. This collection contains issues 8-13.

Again, it’s difficult to not reveal too much about a comic when so much of the enjoyment is discovery. In this comic we learn that if enough people believe in something it can manifest into reality – flat earth, Santa Claus, and everything in between. It is up to the Department of Truth to put an end to such things in order to keep the world safe and “normal”. 

Volume one put this idea out there and opened the door to possibilities. This second collection not only expands that groundwork but also questions what has just been established. In a “lighter” story (which isn’t light at all, just in comparison to the rest) the plot thread of ideas made manifest is opened to include things readers wouldn’t have expected after volume one. Any hair brained idea, any conspiracy, anything that we can’t prove yet devote too much media to is fair game for this comic and under the jurisdiction of the Department of Truth. 

Furthermore, and scarier, is the question of who is controlling reality. Who, why, to what ends, and do those ends actually result in benefitting the world? As we see war propaganda currently happening in the real world we start to question perspective based on location. If your homeland only provides you with one story, that story will be believed as the truth. Even if the rest of the world knows otherwise. If the Department of Truth decides and works towards one truth, then that is what we would all know. But is that the correct, right, or best one? It is accepted because there is no other option, but what if there is a choice? 

Such deep questions can only come from a deep comic. For those who expect the comic in a comic book, this isn’t for you. Text heavy, dense, and a mind job. Some books you can’t put down. This one you have to just allow your mind time to absorb and comprehend these ideas. There’s almost a meta fiction here. It’s sold as a comic, but is it really? At times more novel than graphic. But we accept it as a comic because we’re told that it is one. We accept these new realities because we’re told it’s the truth. 

As the comic grows, and I would assume expands into some sort of movie or TV deal, I could see it sitting alongside the Matrix. A tale that made us question our own reality and how our lives are manipulated within it.

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