Truth is a funny thing, it has many forms, and people relate to it in vastly different ways. Truth can change a person… it can destroy them. So what happens when someone lets the truth consume them? and what happens when fiction starts walking around like wild beasts?
This issue of James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds’ The Department of Truth the team goes hunting for Bigfoot and discusses the existence of cryptids (or lack thereof). In between the main story the issue also has the diary of a Bigfoot hunter, telling the story of his father’s relation to the Bigfoot hunt.
While this issue continues the fantastic world building the creative team has pushed forward with past issues, this time going into what are the creatures they call wild fictions and how they work, the real strength of the issue is on the diary pages and the story they tell.
In the past Tynion and Simmonds have explored the themes of truth and beliefs through the lens of conspiracy theories, so far this exploration has occupied itself with the epistemological side of the dilemma, asking questions like: Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? How do beliefs spread? How do organizations can make people’s perceptions of the truth change? This issue (the diary entries in particular) goes over the personal side of things.
In the story of the bigfoot hunter and his father, we see what the truth can make to a person, how it changes and consumes them. Like I said before, truth is a funny thing, while from a far the truth seems to be this cold scientific instrument that is frozen in time and space, but the way I see it the truth is more complicated, more wild, like a living creature. The father of the writer of the diary stumbles onto a truth that changes him, the existence of Bigfoot. In this truth he sees something bigger than himself, something that gives his own existence purpose. Once that truth was presented to him, his world changed, because that’s what truths do, they become the center of our lives and change and evolve as we do the same.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that the diary entries where included in the same issue the members of the department discuss the creatures known as wild fiction, creatures that are not quite alive, creatures that make you feel sick when you are around them, creatures that can not be captured with any device on Earth. I think this issue takes a leap previous issues couldn’t take, in this issue the truth and beliefs are no longer talked about like they are information, they are talked about like they are living creatures that wrap the reality around those who surround them.
This has been my favorite issue of the series because it changes the discussion. Tynion and Simmonds are no longer talking about mere stories and theories, they are now talking about the changing pillars on which we build our lives. I think this series has been so popular not only because its art is spectacular and the dialogue is amazing, but because it understands that we have finally realized that the relation we have with truth is a lot more complicated that what we once thought.
I really liked this issue and I’ve been loving the series so far, and I’m really excited to see where the hunt for Bigfoot (and the truth) takes us next.