“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 environments 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!
If you haven’t made your way to your local comic book store today make sure you add Jeff Lemire’s Trillium Issue #1 to your pile of “goodies”! I have been waiting for this series since last October when it was first announced and believe me when I tell you that it was worth the wait.
Anyone that is a Lemire fan knows that Lemire’s books have never been about complex artwork but rather about his use of visual simplicity and his talent to seduce the reader through storytelling.
When I heard about the title and saw the first few images I could not help but feel proud and even a bit patriotic. The white Trillium serves as the emblem and official flower of the Canadian province of Ontario; my home. 🙂 For those who don’t already know, Jeff Lemire lives in Ontario, Canada. If you have been following his work and you are a “local”, every so often you will catch the little references in his work.
In Trillium Issue #1 there are two stories that are taking place. The first story is about a character named Nika in 3797 who is searching for a cure to stop a virus while in the second story the reader is introduced to a WWI veteran named William on an archaeological “journey”.
In this issue the reader is introduced to two characters who are complete opposites. You have Nika who is searching for a way to save the human race and in search of preservation while William has already come face to face with death and has given up on life.
On the surface both characters may seen heroic and stable but if you look closer it’s not heroism; it’s induced lunacy.
Nika’s actions and eagerness unveil a naive inexperienced girl that walks into danger not knowing what she’s up against. As she walks blindly into situations she shouldn’t be walking into, she experiences visions of her dead mother encouraging her to keep going.
At the same time William does the exact same thing only his hallucinations involve images from encounters during the war. Lemire and Jose Villarrubia do a fantastic job showing the hallucinations for both characters by adding a faded blurry colour effect every time a hallucination takes place. It’s a simple effect yet it’s just enough for the reader to get glimpses of their fabricated reality.
When I got to the last page I felt a feeling of balance and was left wanting more. You’re just going to have to read it to find out why!
If you love a good story then this series is definitely one to consider. You won’t find the breath-taking interior art that you see in some of the comics today but I feel that the story makes up for it. I am really looking forward to seeing where this story takes us; Jeff Lemire is a genius.
“A new epic begins with the debut of this new, ongoing series! Don’t miss the first fateful meeting of Batman and Superman in The New 52!”
I haven’t been excited for a new series in a long time. I’ll admit I thought I was going to be disappointed but reading Issue #1 of The New 52 Batman/Superman has given me a sense of hope that good things are to come.
I would be lying if I were to say that I understand the pressure and stress that Greg Pak must have felt having to create dialogue for the two iconic characters. I admire him for being able to pull it off. It was a situation where it was going to turn out amazing like it did versus ending up very terribly and then having to be known as “that guy” that couldn’t follow through. I don’t think some readers realize how “rough” some of these writer’s have it when they have to live under someone’s shadow until they are given the chance to shine.
Pak did a great job giving each character a unique voice and that uniqueness is extended through visual imagery by both Jae Lee’s and Ben Oliver’s art work. The reader is continually introduced to two-sides and duality seems to be the theme of this issue. On the one side of the spectrum you have a pessimist with a doom and gloom kind of attitude and on the other side you have an optimist who almost looks like an angel walking through the “gates of hell” as he enters Gotham City. During the fight scene between Batman and Superman the reader isn’t just witnessing a simple fight; for me it felt like it was a ritualistic dance as Pak weaves his masterpiece. The two-page spread in the middle of the issue as shown below is a visual tapestry of the two iconic characters weaved into a single entity. “We only survive by coming together” Kent says at the very start of the story and that’s going to be their strength.
There really isn’t much to say about the art that most of you don’t already know. Anyone that knows Jae Lee’s work knows that his work is breath-taking and that he is at his peak. Many are upset that he did not handle the art from cover to cover but I feel that Ben Oliver was a great choice as a fill-in artist for the second half of the issue. Oliver’s photo-realistic style fits really well with the story line and I didn’t feel that there was a need for him to hold up to Lee’s work. His backgrounds felt a bit lacking but in the end I think it worked to his advantage because by the time the reader gets to the end of the issue he/she is focused on the characters and any additional detail would take away from that focus. The colourists June Chung and Daniel Brown also played a huge part in bringing the art to life and I feel did a phenomenal job complimenting Lee’s and Oliver’s work.
Overall I feel that this is a series worth spending your money on even though there was only 25 pages of content. At the back of the issue there are two variant covers as bonus material and you get a peek at next month’s cover!