Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I Reads You Review: TREES #1

IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

WRITER: Warren Ellis
ARTIST: Jason Howard
LETTERS: Fonografiks
28pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (May 2014)

Rated M / Mature

Trees is a new science fiction comic book miniseries from writer Warren Ellis and artist Jason Howard.  The series is set on Earth, ten years after an alien invasion of the planet.  The aliens, which resemble giant trees, essentially plant themselves at different places around the globe.  Their arrival is mostly a “silent invasion,” as they basically do almost nothing else after arriving.

Trees #1 opens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where street people battle high-tech police weaponry.  It moves to New York City where a mayoral candidate plots a strategy to use the “Trees” to his advantage.  In China, Tian Chenglei, a young artist, arrives in the city of Chu from his rural village, looking for inspiration.  At the Blindhail Station in North West Spitzbergen, a researcher discover a strange new flowering plant near the Trees.

There is not enough in Trees #1 to render judgment, on the series as a whole (obviously) or even on the first issue.  [It does not help that there are only 20 pages of story in this first issue.]  From what I’ve read at my usual comic book reference source (Comic Book Resources), Warren Ellis is exploring how the presence of the Trees shapes and forms the lives of the humans living near them.  In that way, I guess that Trees is speculative science fiction that examines a specific kind of alien arrival/invasion and its aftermath.

Jason Howard offers some beautiful art that recalls Heavy Metal magazine (circa the 1970s and early 1980s) and even the Heavy Metal-inspired Epic Magazine from Marvel Comics.  Howard’s art and storytelling is futuristic, but remains grounded and earthy, visually and graphically.  At this point, I would say that Jason Howard, more so than Warren Ellis, is the star or, at least, the stronger presence in Trees.  I must also admit that Trees #1 intrigues me enough to make me come back for the second issue.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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