Author: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Howard
Publisher: Image Comics
Trees #12 is filled with conspiracy and intrigue. The inauguration of a new mayor, one with ties to criminal organizations and cryptic plans, looms just ahead. The arrival of a Dr. Creasy at her new research facility, after having finished her stent in the hospital, leads to the realization that information regarding a certain catastrophic event (an event that Dr. Creasy intends to study) has been expunged from the public eye. Retribution against a police force that has committed uninhibited atrocities is set into motion. All the while, the “Tree,” the monolith of this story, is only ever hinted at, whispered of.
This is what Warren Ellis does.
The writing and dialogue in Trees is on point, keeping tensions high and maintaining an atmosphere of intrigue. I am unsure if previous issues explained more to do with the Tree itself (I would assume so, and I aim to find out), but this might be the only pitfall I found in the story of issue #12. It might just actually be a bit too cryptic. A story like this is always designed to have the reader craving more information, but after finishing the title, I ended up feeling like I had very little to go on. I’m a curious enough person that I want to pursue more of the story, but I was a little saddened by the lack of revelation. Others might find the hook too far out of reach. I have always said that every issue of a comic must hook the reader, and though I am experienced with Ellis and know that the buildup is worth the wait, other readers might not be. A small blurb at the beginning of the issue regarding what has transpired or what this world is exactly, would have been much appreciated.
The art is nice and gritty, very appropriate for the tone of the issue. Jason Howard does a good job in his use of colorful but realistic and muted pallet. There were points where the lines felt too rough, too jagged, or too pixelated for me, but it was a mild distraction at best from the overall art. The characters are drawn well, but more facial detail, especially when dealing with the mayor-to-be and his panels, would be nice, I think. I ended up feeling as though they were less defined because they were less important.
All in all, I am not sure that I would recommend Trees based on this issue alone. I found it enjoyable, and I am a fan of both the author and the artist. However, I think I will need to keep this one to myself, do a little more reading and form a more well-rounded opinion for myself, before I pass it on to other fans. I definitely wouldn’t recommend starting with this issue.