Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Ellis & Howard
The latest creator owned book from Warren Ellis is a compelling look at a potential alien invasion and the effects it would have on the general population. Unlike previous books by Ellis that deals with some flavor of the end of humanity, such as Supergod, this one steers clear of overwhelming science-fiction terms and extreme images. Ellis allows the artwork to tell the story with limited narration and this is done with tremendous results. Whether or not you like science fiction books or Warren Ellis, I believe this is a comic book that appeals to a wide audience. I definitely recommend checking this out.
Don't let the title throw you, this book is about an alien invasion. At some point, large monolith-like objects began appearing around the globe. Apparently they are either more intelligent than humans or they simply don't recognize humans as life forms or maybe they don't care. They sit on the land and occasionally expel some sort of weapon(?) that wipes out some portion of the population. They never bother to even attempt to communicate.
This high concept is an interesting one: an alien invasion that hangs around and kills people only occasionally with no obvious objective. Obviously there must be more to their presence but Ellis isn't showing his cards just yet.
The book's focus is on a range of characters ten years after the trees arrive. It's interesting because there doesn't seem to be much that anyone can do about them and the humans seem more interesting in changing the status quo among themselves rather than focusing on the threat of the trees. It's a form of submission I suppose but I am sure Ellis will reveal more down the road.
Howard's work in this comic is vastly different from his work in Astounding Wolf-Man. His cartoon-like style has given way to a very noir and gritty look. The line work is grainier but some of the images are painstakingly detailed. The book sticks with a much darker palette of colors that really makes the book feel like a depressed future. The book definitely tells a fantastic story to accompany the snippets of dialogue and limited narration in the book.
Trees is a fantastic start to what looks to be a promising series. Ellis doesn't really provide any single character to focus on. Instead he introduces the set-up of the world ten years down the road after the invasions begins. He's selling the idea before giving you someone to potentially back as a character and it works well in this issue's execution. Warren Ellis books can definitely drift into some difficult storytelling but this one is very straightforward but brings big ideas to the table. I recommend checking this comic out.
4.5 out of 5 Geek Goggles