Trees, vol. 1: In shadow by Warren Ellis (writer), Jason Howard (artist), Fonografiks (lettering & design)
Date read: 11 October 2016
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Paperback, 1 volume unpaged
Published 2015 by Image Comics
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel ELLIS WARREN] Collects issues #1-8.
My wife brought this home several days ago since it had been recommended to her a few times.
I did not like the opening as it was confused and confusing. The reader eventually sorts out what is going on but it takes work and time, which seems to be a recurring trend in Ellis’ storytelling, in my opinion.
To be more accurate, he drops you immediately into some chaotic scene where you can clearly see what’s going on but simply cannot fathom why. Then within a handful or two of pages you radically shift focus to something that (probably) seems like it is not at all connected. Usually by the third or fourth temporal/locational/perspectival (or all three) jump you begin figuring it out. This one wasn’t quite that hard but it had the (in my mind) patented Ellis move of dropping you into something initially disconcerting.
I have read quite a bit of his stuff and that is how his style mostly strikes me. The wife mentioned that she loves his frequent perspectival switches, which I agreed with. There is just something disconcerting for me about the way he dumps you into one of his stories.
It appears that Trees, Vol. 2: Two Forests is also out, collecting issues #9-14. But how many more are there to come and how long will we wait? I am tempted to just skip the rest but this could be excellent in the long run.
Description from back cover/Goodreads:
“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.
Trees looks at a near-future world where life goes on in the shadows of the Trees: in China, where a young painter arrives in the “special cultural zone” of a city under a Tree; in Italy, where a young woman under the menacing protection of a fascist gang meets an old man who wants to teach her terrible skills; and in Svalbard, where a research team is discovering, by accident, that the Trees may not be dormant after all, and the awful threat they truly represent.”
The story moves around the world, and back several times, to some of the sites where the “Trees” landed. They have induced radical changes simply by their presence but now stranger things are beginning to happen.
Again, this could be great after all but I am not yet convinced. Highly recommended if you are a fan of Ellis’ work; otherwise, it is on you to decide. Sorry.