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REVIEW: 'Home Sick Pilots' #2 by Dan Watters, Caspar Wijngaard, and Aditya Bidikar

The Old James House has lost its ghosts. With her new powers, it's up to Ami to bring them back...whether they want to come home or not. Even when they're really big ghosts wrapped in metal, with lots of sharp edges and things. HOME SICK PILOTS #2 Writer: Dan Watters Artist: Caspar Wijngaard Letterer: Aditya Bidikar  Designer: Tom Muller Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: January 13, 2021 Cover Price: $3.99 Score:  ★★★☆☆ (3/5) A powered-up ghostified Ami has been compelled to find the ghosts of The Old James House in the form of an enchanted horseshoe. Its current bearer isn't going to give it up so easily. Meanwhile, Ami's friends Buzz and Rip are left looking for answers about her whereabouts back at the house. The second issue of Home Sick Pilots from Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard takes a surprising turn as it defies the expectations of a haunted house story established in its debut. Issue one was a stellar debut that had a lot of energy from its young protago

REVIEW: 'The Department of Truth' #3 by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds

Mary never knew what "false flag" or "crisis actor" meant, until her son was murdered in a mass shooting, and the threats and accusations began. But as her reality starts to bend around her, it's the job of the Department of Truth to keep these dark conspiracies from coming any cost. JAMES TYNION IV (Batman) & MARTIN SIMMONDS (Dying is Easy) continue their breakout thriller.

Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Martin Simmonds
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: November 25, 2020

Score: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

James Tynion has mined a great premise with 'The Department of Truth' based on conspiracy theories and how they manifest because of mass hysteria and the agency responsible for keeping them conspiratorial. The first two issues tackled flat earth conspiracies, the JFK assassination, and the satanic scare of the '80s, and were clever and frightening. Issue three focuses on a woman shattered by the killing of her son during a mass shooting. That horror is only made worse by the harassment from strangers claiming it was a 'false flag' event and her son was a 'crisis actor.' 

Tynion illustrates just how vicious and callous the abuse can become. He even uses an avatar for real media pundits who promote these awful conspiracies. It's a devastating portrayal that is unfortunately all too real. All this 'ripped from the headlines' is vividly reproduced by Tynion and artist Martin Simmonds. The ugly image of screaming pundits and heartless crank calls accurately crush the spirit of the story's protagonist. Unfortunately, Tynion crosses a line when the grieving mom begins to believe the disinformation and conspiracies that her son is still alive somewhere. 

While that twist serves the premise of the series it undermines the devastation that the creative team just presented. They've just shown the remarkable terror caused by despicable people denying this mother's pain and anguish just to have her fall for the conspiracy too? It was a bridge too far to justify this story. It wasn't clever or twisty, it was just another layer of cruelty on top of cruelty.  It was flippantly insensitive and honestly, beneath Tynion's talent to go this route.