Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Howard
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Publisher: Image Comics
High-concept science fiction returns with Warren Ellis’s and Jason Howard’s Trees: Three Fates #1. Cast by Image as a miniseries, the five-issue story could also just as well serve as the comic’s third arc (Trees #15-#19). The narrative picks up one year after the first two arcs (or 11 years after humanity discovers that intelligent life exists in the universe). In the tiny Russian village of Toska, Sergeant Klara Voranova investigates a dead body at the foot of the massive structures that stand silent, like trees, all around the world. She has no idea that this murder is about to change everything.
Set-up is the goal of this issue. Ellis (Moon Knight) reveals in the opening that Klara was personally affected by the alien arrival. She is haunted by an untimely death that took place on the day the structures landed. Her misfortune will likely point us toward this arc’s underlying theme. What makes Trees compelling is that Ellis enlists the mute, judgmental presence of the alien structures to riff on feminism, income inequality, and other social issues. I look forward to learning more about that day, its influence on Klara, and its significance for the people of Toska village.
I also look forward to more of the artwork. Jason Howard works well with Ellis. He illustrated the first two arcs of Trees and, recently, the Image miniseries, Cemetery Beach. Howard uses perspective and paneling to vest the silent, tree-like structures with an ominous presence. I am a fan of his jaw lines, which define the mood and personality of his characters. Klara’s sharp jaw suggests the kind of determination that will help her to deal with the comic’s cliffhanger ending. Some of the villagers may know more than others about the murder under investigation.
Trees: Three Fates #1 is versatile enough to compel longtime fans of the series while providing new readers with a jumping on point. And, it is a perfect way to get a taste of what’s to come from the television adaption presently in production.