Department of Truth Vol. 1 TP by James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds and Aditya Bidikar, published by Image Comics
Department of Truth feels like a comic that has captured the zeitgeist better than just about anything else right now, and it's a book I absolutely love (my full review here). The idea behind the comic is that belief influences reality in a tangible, meaningful way, and that belief can be manipulated in order to change reality. This is causing conspiracies to come true. the Department of Truth is a government agency that is tasked with keeping reality real. It's a really smart, intense, engaging book, that's not always an easy read because of the subject matter. I absolutely loved this book, and so much of that comes from the stunning, next-level work done by Martin Simmonds on art and Aditya Bidikar on letters. I've always enjoyed Simmonds' work but his pages in Department of Truth are a revelation.
Nuclear Family #1 by Stephanie Phillips, Tony Shasteen, JD Mettler and Troy Peteri, published by AftershockI always look forward to new titles from Aftershock. They seem to have a good formula for quality stories that oftentimes involve something traumatic or downright scary AF. This one in particular first piqued my interest by being written by Stephanie Phillips. Her work lately has been noteworthy and I would be doing everyone disservice to not say something to that fact. Put those thoughts with the amazing talents of Tony Shasteen on illustrations about a story based on a Phillip K. Dick short story and I’m hands-to-the-sky all-in. Premise: it’s after the Cold War and dynamics are tested with a Korean War vet and his family as a nuclear attack erupts on US soil. This ultimately causes everyday life to be forced underground, living among the bunkers trying to survive an unending nuclear war. I am totally onboard for this one!
Department of Truth v.1 TP by James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds and Aditya Bidikar, published by Image ComicsThe first arc to a story so dense that without chewing long enough on each page you may choke on it’s premise. Truth’s are subjective and conspiracy is omnipresent in a story that is scary good and flat out horrifying with how timely it’s existence is. References to Qanon and real world conspiracies drive the narrative through a story that makes true what we’ve all been terrified of entertaining this whole time: What if a collective thought, no matter how untrue, could shape the perceived existence of actual real life? That’s the take here. That’s the massive undertaking that this creative team are doing here (and who are all literally at the top of their games). Strap in folks, this is gonna be one hell of a wild ride and I see this mindfuck of the fiction to a non-fictional foundation lasting for quite some time.
Ice Cream Man #23 by W. Maxwell Prince, Martin Morazzo and Chris O’Halloran, published by Image ComicsBy now I must seem like a broken record. Ice Cream Man is one of the best books out there right now. Each issue needn’t be read with having any preconceived knowledge of the rest, but having read them in sequential order you’ll be best suited as sitting down as these stories have no rest for the weary. Just when we may have figured out the format and stylistic delivery that Maxwell and Morazzo have perfected, they go and turn their own format upside down, throwing it to us completely sideways. The 23rd issue, out this week, won’t be one for everyone. It’s not a traditional comic in the sense of what it means to be traditional in an industry of word bubbles and thought balloons, but this issue will absolutely have longstanding fans of the series stand up to their feet and say “hell yes!” because it takes storytelling to a new height. Mixing prose with splash pages and casting playwrights would have pissed me right off if you were to tell me that were to be the format of a comic out soon. Grab ICM23, open it up, digest it’s contents, and then I’ll slap myself stupid for knocking it before I tried it.
The first issue of this new collaboration of Kindt with rising star Matt Lesniewski was a hit as far as I’m concerned. Kindt is peak Kindt right now, and Lesniewski is next-level with his linework and illustrative creativity. A folkloric sequence of events unfold as it tells a story alongside another. Telling a story to tell another one sounds awkward and, frankly, pretentious, but Kindt finding his own way to deliver it is both palatable and enjoyable. Like the ones before this one, grab this Kindt miniseries and enjoy the ride.
Because of recent news that has come to light about Joss Whedon, like many Buffyverse fans I’ve been reexamining how I feel about the shows he created. Yes, certain aspects of Whedon franchises that I always found somewhat troublesome (I’m lookin’ at you, Connor and Cordelia in season 4 of Angel and just about everything in Dollhouse) feel even more icky now. But just as Harry, Hermione and Ron now belong to the world and not J.K. Rowling, so too do the slayers belong to the fans. So far, the recent comics from Boom! have done a fantastic job of re-imaging them for a new generation. In this one-shot, we’re promised the origin of Faith as a slayer. We’ve seen inklings that she might not follow the same moral code as Buffy, and I look forward to where this issue will take her.