Published on May 21st, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Trees #9 Review
Warren Ellis leads us back into his world of mysterious Trees after a short hiatus. An undisclosed amount of time has passed since the end of the first arc and this is sublimely illustrated over the first few silent panelled pages which depict Dr Marsh’s body sinking to the depths of the ocean and then being devoured by the black poppies. It’s eerie, it’s horrifying, and it’s the perfect start to the new arc.
After this initial time lapse the reader is introduced to England in this world through the eyes of Dr Joanne Creasy. Dr Creasy has recently been released from hospital after her near death experience at the Blindhail Tree event which took the lives of Dr Marsh and the research stations crew. She makes her way through the busy, almost recognisable city to a meeting with a civil servant. A few incidents on her journey remind the reader that this is not the London of the real world although it’s not that far removed. A road blockage which appears to be the result of a suicide bomber causes nothing more than irritation to most travellers and highlights some local A.I.’s inability to adapt.
The meeting turns into a job offer and Dr Creasy is pretty much railroaded into heading to The Orkney Tree to make sure there isn’t a repeat of the Blindhail Tree incident. Mixed in with this is a lot of exposition that sets up the direction of the second arc. Dr Creasy is rooted as the central figure and she is shown to battle against her fears and anxieties which have been a large part of her life since the accident.
There is also an Eleven Years ago section which shows the coming of the Trees and the destruction they wrought. This is in complete contrast to the introduction in issue one where the Trees are nothing but background structures. Maybe Ellis is using this as a way of foretelling the direction this arc will go; the Trees are no longer going to be bystanders in the story.
The opening and the ending of this issue are full of strong images that are related but very different. They both reflect the destruction of something but one is chaotic and violent while the other has a strange, natural beauty about it. One is about foreign objects forcing their way into a civilisation while the other is about one body merging with the environment. Ellis is contrasting the way that the Trees have influenced their environment and this makes for dramatic reading. Add this to the character driven central portion of the story and you are left with a very strong start to the second arc.
This is also a good jumping on point for readers. If you missed the first 8 issues it doesn’t actually matter because this is the start of something new; everything you need to know is here in these pages. The setting and the characters are explained in a way that encourages new readers into the story and doesn’t isolate them with constant references to previous issues.
This is a solidly structured comic that I can’t recommend enough. Obviously go pick up the first volume if you didn’t read it but don’t let that put you off getting involved. Warren Ellis is on top form at the moment and he is writing comics that will make you sit up and take notice.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Howard