The Department of Truth Volume 3: Free Country Graphic Novel Review

Writer: James Tynion IV. Art by: Elsa Charretier (issue 6), Tyler Boss (issue 7), John J Pearson (issue 14), Davide Romero (issue 15), Alison Sampson (issue 16), Jorge Fornes (issues 17). Published by Image Comics. This collection contains issues 6, 7, 14-17. 

I’ve reviewed the first two collections previously on this site and that is probably a good thing right now. This series has gone so far into ideas and worlds that I am having trouble grasping, and in less than two years time. By all means, start from the beginning because by the time this third collection comes around the ways of the world much less the ways of this comic make zero and also absolute sense. 

This far into a series and most of the accolades have already been said. Tynion is a mad man mastermind. The art in this series is always perfect for what the page and the issue needs to be. Creepy, logical, text heavy, art heavy – whatever direction the story needs at the time always has perfect art to compliment it. I have never read anything bad from Tynion nor have I seen an artist who isn’t ready to run alongside him. All of that out of the way, what the hell is happening here? 

There’s a desire to make sense or at least an excuse for everything in the world. Things feel wrong, they feel off, and there is a collective question wondering how we get here. Many trace it all back to the Collider being turned on. The Department of Truth though puts a different answer in front of us. When beliefs become reality it can still only be as strong as the belief. The more people who are aware of it, the stronger it becomes. These ideas were probably easier to make tangible a thousand years ago. Less people, less knowledge, more easily susceptible. At least we would like to think so. However, if those ideas are too vague then the concepts made real will also be a bit muddy. To disastrous results. My favorite and most jaw dropping moment so far in the series is when it is revealed that if enough people witness a falsehood live it can become reality instantly. A terrifying theory in fiction and honestly best to not dwell on the possibilities of if this idea could be true. 

The best or maybe worst part of the series is seeing a grand unified theory come about. So many stories appear to be connected and the longer this comic goes on the tougher it becomes to think of it as just fiction. I was aware on some level of the conspiracies and cover ups and theories that have been brought up along the way. But this collection put new ones in front of me with ripples and threads through familiar scary stories. I’m torn between a curiosity to know more versus never coming back out of that rabbit hole no matter what pills I take. 

Our introductory character doesn’t appear in these issues, the first story is barely whispered. All of that means ironically our tether to reality is gone. An everyman discovering something extraordinary still needs to be that every man we can relate to first. Now that that’s long gone and the secrets of the world are opening before us throughout this series it’s easier for the reader to lose their grasp over what is and isn’t true. 

This comic needs to come packaged with a bookmark. Not so the reader doesn’t lose their place in the story, but so we don’t lose our place in reality.

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