COMIC REVIEW: TREES (2014) #1

Trees_01-1“Ten years after they landed. All over the world. And they did nothing, standing on the surface of the Earth like trees, exerting their silent pressure on the world, as if there were no-one here and nothing under foot. Ten years since we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe, but that they did not recognize us as intelligent or alive. Beginning a new science fiction graphic novel by WARREN ELLIS and JASON HOWARD.”

This is one of those comics where you’ll find yourself drawn in unexpectedly.  As I picked up Trees Issue #1 in my hands it was the cover that first drew me in.  It’s simplicity made me want to flip the page open and by the time I got to page four I already knew that this is the series that I have been waiting for.  Between the beautifully laid out panel work and Jason Howard’s ability to capture movement lays just enough text strategically laid out for the reader’s eyes to chase.

The reader is introduced to two scenarios in two different locations.  Although the two environmentsguard1 may seem random, Warren Ellis is a genius for picking the locations that he did.  In only a few pages he is able to establish a solid foundation for whatever is to come. Both locations seem confined and as the city guard outside of Shu says, the city is “like a big dish left alone on a shelf; [just left there and watching what] grows in it.” Yet I wonder if it’s the human race that is really being studied.

Within the city walls the reader gets glimpses of a chaotic environment expressed through moss greens, yellows, blues and shades of orange. One of the first characters we are introduced to is Tian Chenglei who seems so untainted and motivated to be an artist.  I’m intrigued to see the path that this character takes and the character development that goes along with the choices he may be forced to make.  I also found the second location Spitzberger interesting.  One of the first panels for this destination shows a black poppy type flower scattered around the “tree” pillars and with roots that can grow through metal.  What’s pure genius about this second location is that with a bit of research you will find that Spitsbergen, Norwegian  is near the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. This is the home to approximately 1.5 million distinct seed samples of agricultural crops. According to The Economist, “the Svalbard vault is a backup for the world’s 1,750 seed banks, storehouses of agricultural biodiversity.”  Whoever this intelligent life form is they couldn’t have picked a better place to land.

I really enjoyed reading Trees Issue #1 and I am very excited to see where Ellis takes this story.  The comic itself was only $2.99 and even though I normally cringe when I find ads in my comics I feel like I got my money’s worth.  I am definitely sold on this series and looking forward to Issue #2 which is being released June 25th.  Thank you Image for continuing to produce great comics!

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