Trees, a new Image series from Warren Ellis and Jason Howard, has been nothing short of interesting to follow thus far. I am not just referring to the unique story about seemingly banal trees that attached themselves to Earth from outer space, causing mass hysteria, but also to the ups and downs in quality. The series started out incredibly strong, poetically pulling one in through engrossing storytelling, and then the second issue came off as rather dull, for examples. Issue #5 is a good issue with especially captivating updates on threads that focus on individuals but sometimes boring beats on the larger picture.
The best piece of Trees continues to be the escapades of the sheepish young artist, and this issue is his best showing yet. He finds himself in a shocking situation that allows the book to expertly display the fascinating culture Ellis has developed throughout that setting. Another highlight of the issue centers upon a young woman and her attempts to learn proper combat skills, compelling for similar reasons. The old man mentoring her comes off as a great combination of creepy, noble and intelligent, offering solid characterization. The small, intimate looks at specific characters are where this book shines.
While important for forming the larger narrative at hand, the parts of this issue that instead decide to use characters as a window into bigger concepts find themselves as less enjoyable. Things get harder to understand, feeling borderline confusing at times. It all serves for the main storyline in a way that makes sense, but it just isn’t exciting either. While certainly always interesting, when there isn’t some confusion there is bound to be some boredom.
The art work is completely free of boredom, this issue providing the strongest showing since the debut. The biggest improvement found in this issue in regards to the visuals is the more interesting playing around with colors. Certain pages towards the end find themselves drenched in a certain color, making for a cooler comic to look at. As always, the scratchy, rough composition lends itself to the gloom of the situation while the slight hint of stylistic cuteness keeps things partially light and fun.
What readers are left with is a good comic that adds to an incredibly intriguing comic book. The one thing that can definitely be said of Trees is that one never knows what to expect, in terms of quality and content. This fifth issue comes out a winner, but not a gold medalist.
Story: Warren Ellis Art: Jason Howard
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
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Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review