There was a lot of great comic books out this week, but what three are we recommending for you to pick up if you’re visiting your local comic book store this weekend?
The Department of Truth #1 (Image Comics)
Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Martin Simmonds
You can’t go too wrong with grabbing the debut issue of James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds’ new conspiracy drama The Department of Truth #1. That’s if you can find a copy. My local store sold out pretty quickly. Quickly enough that I was glad I put it on my pull list the moment I was able to catch an early look at it.
The X-Files meets The Black Monday Murders but with a great deal more conspiracy theories. This is a comic that asks, “What if it was all true?” What if the flat-earthers and tin-foil hat wearing folk of this world were right all along?
Simmonds’ gritty, paint-splattered pages adds a legitimacy to this intriguing alternative history narrative and a infuses the book with a threatening mood to the unfolding drama.
All-in-all, with its central concept of shadowy deep state secret departments and global conspiracies – often fuelled by right-wing fanatics, and neo-liberal backers in the mould of the real-life Kochs brothers – it’s an espionage thriller that will appeal to a good deal of comic book readers. – Olly MacNamee
You can read my full review here.
Nova Graphica: A Graphic Anthology of Nova Scotia History (Conundrum Press)
Contributions: Emma Fitzgerald, Sara Spike, Rebecca Roher, Paul Hammond, Colleen MacIsaac, Kris Bertin and Alexander Forbes, Sarah Mangle, JJ Steeves, Laura Ķeniņš, Sarah Thunder and Vanessa Lent, Rebecca Thomas and Rachel Hill, Jordyn Bochon, Veronica Post, and Donald Calabrese.
Edited by Laura Ķeniņš
Knowing so little about Nova Scotia going into this anthology, I didn’t initially know what the appeal of these stories would be for someone who probably would’ve mistaken Nova Scotia for a city, not a province, until recently. If I’m being honest, the reason I decided to look into this anthology proper is because Kris Bertin tweeted that he and Alexander Forbes had a story in it (Bertin and Forbes being the geniuses behind Conundrum Press’ Hobtown Mystery Stories). I can now say Nova Graphica is one of the best anthologies I’ve ever read and I’m sorry I almost overlooked it.
Starting at the top, with Ķeniņš’ foreword, these aren’t just stories about people and events that happened in the past. Their legacies live on to this day and the thoughtfulness by which this book’s contributors make those connections is incredible. Nova Graphica covers everything from racism to exploitation but never in the obvious ways – telling “small,” personal stories and then showing how they relate to much larger issues. Possibly my favorite part of this anthology was seeing how the different creators framed their stories, whether they used an omniscient narrator or showed someone in the present telling the story.
In Veronica Post’s “Spryfield Rocking Stone,” the title stone is interviewed by a lighthouse, while Jordyn Bochon’s “The Daughter of the North Mountain” unravels the story behind a monument in Burlington Cemetery. JJ Steeves and Ķeniņš’ both look at architecture in their entries, while Rebecca Roher’s “Viola Desmond Had A Dream Too” makes sure the whole of Desmond’s remarkable life gets told (fans of the Netflix miniseries Self Made need to familiarize themselves with Desmond’s name). Nova Graphica isn’t just for Canadians. It’s for everyone, and it’s available to purchase directly from Conundrum Press.
Fantastic Four #24 (Marvel)
Written by Dan Slott
Illustrated by Paco Medina
A fun-filled joyous issue that celebrates the importance of family, a core concept underpinning any successful run of the Fantastic Four.
Dan Slott tells an untold tale in which Iceman joins the FF – albeit for the briefest of moments – as we witness the snazziest of flashbacks, courtesy of artist Paco Medina and colour artist Jesus Abartov who do a great and contemporary pop art take on the classic Kirby art of the swinging Silver Age.
It’s a fun done-in-one issue and a reminder of Slott’s expertise in one-liners, banter and just great dialogue and pacing. I’ve enjoyed Medina’s time on the Fantastic Four and this is his best to date.
You can read any full review here.
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