Published on June 25th, 2014 | by JCDoyle0
Trees #2 – Comic Review
As the people living in the shadows of the Trees get to know each other a little better, the purpose of the Trees themselves still remain a mystery.
The appearance of Black Poppies in the arctic waste has the scientist Marsh worried because they should not be there and they definitely should not be taking root. He tries to convince the other lab technicians that there is something weird but he is shot down and dismissed.
“We’re under a Tree, Mister Marsh. Something’s always weird out here.”
The newbie, Dr Creasy, doesn’t want to be at the station and Marsh doesn’t want to leave but they appear to hit it off and Marsh already has a task for her.
Meanwhile, Eligia and Tito have a strange encounter in Cefalu with a contemplative man who appears to be studying the Trees. And during a news interview, President Caleb Rahim draws attention to the unusual aspect of the Puntland Tree: the fact that it is the shortest tree in the world, so short they have managed to put a viewing platform on top.
The world that Warren Ellis has built in this comic is vast and complex. There are a whole host of characters inhabiting places that feel familiar but there is a dark, mysterious shadow hanging over it all. Ellis isn’t afraid to layer the intrigue on thick and fast by introducing an idea and moving on quickly without too much elaboration. His years of writing hit comic book series has given him, and the publisher, confidence to play a long game and slowly build up the characters and plot. The interplay between characters is wonderfully written and there is a stark contrast between the scientists in the Arctic and the couple in Cefalu.
There is also a clever changing of colour between scenes to illustrate the different locations and character relationships. For example, Dr Marsh walks from the warm orange hues of his conversation with a long time companion and into the cold blues of Dr Creasy’s hung over bitterness. Jason Howard has produced a rough looking sketching style that really suits the narrative and helps to add additional mystery to each situation.
We are only two issues into this political sci-fi comic and it’s already got me hooked. Warren Ellis is a clever writer who isn’t afraid to leave story threads hanging from one issue to the next or even longer in some cases. The focus of the story is obviously the Trees of the title but they have taken a back seat acting as a catalyst for the action but so far playing no real part. I’m also impressed with the artistic rendering of the situations, especially the scenic panels. There is something fascinating but unnerving about the way Jason Howard draws the Trees with their tops fading out towards the top of each panel. I have a feeling that this series is going to be another hit for Image, following in the wake of Saga and The Manhattan Projects.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Howard