Trees, Vol 1: In Shadow by Warren Ellis #BookReview

Title: Trees: Vol 1: In Shadow | Series: Trees | Author: Warren Ellis   | Illustrator: Jason Howard | Publisher: Image Comics | Pages: 160 | Pub. Date: 2015-2-11 | ISBN13: 9781632152701 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Diversity: Inclusive | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Comixology

Trees, Vol 1: In Shadow

Ten years after they landed. All over the world. And they did nothing, standing on the surface of the Earth like trees, exerting their silent pressure on the world, as if there were no-one here and nothing under foot. Ten years since we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe, but that they did not recognize us as intelligent or alive.

Trees looks at a near-future world where life goes on in the shadows of the Trees: in China, where a young painter arrives in the “special cultural zone” of a city under a Tree; in Italy, where a young woman under the menacing protection of a fascist gang meets an old man who wants to teach her terrible skills; and in Svalbard, where a research team is discovering, by accident, that the Trees may not be dormant after all, and the awful threat they truly represent.

Book cover for Trees, Vol 1: In Shadow

Trees, Vol 1: In Shadow Review

Trees, Vol 1: In Shadow was a weird graphic novel for me to read. While I would periodically find myself cracking up over the book, or thinking some serious thoughts about it, I was never able to get fully into it. I think a lot of that has to do with the art style, which has that scratchy, half-sketched feel to it. It’s a style that I’ve learned by now that I just don’t like. However, when the story is good enough, I’m able to look past it.

However, there was an issue with the art style that continually gave me a bit of difficulty and made it almost impossible for me to look past. There are two female characters (Eligia & Zhen) in the same city that feature pretty heavily. The only way I could tell them apart for quite a while was by who they were interacting with. So, if it started a few panels with just one of them, I would have no bloody clue which one it was.

As I mentioned in the beginning, Trees, Vol 1: In Shadow did have me outright laughing. There’s a whole section where a young artist is talking with an old man in his building about a certain experience he had the previous night. The old man was ribbing him like there was no tomorrow, in that bawdy way old people have that can just put you in stitches. I liked the honesty of the exchange as well, though, and how the old man pointed out that it isn’t love just because you’ve had the greatest sex in your life.

Diversity features heavily in Trees, Vol 1.: In Shadow. There are some male to female and female to male transgender characters, as well as some homosexual characters. There is also diversity in terms of races represented. This is not a book where the white people rule, by far. (But there is a crack about rich white men that had me snorting!) And there is a good chunk of the book that focuses just on one of the LGBT relationships that was nice to read.

Trees, Vol 1: In Shadow was weird, but it was also well-thought out and thought-provoking. The only thing I didn’t like, really, was the art style. Even after I finished the volume, I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to know about the Trees. I wanted to know what it was like when they first landed, I wanted to see them speak beyond the little bit that we see at the end. I thought the premise that’s laid out in the very beginning was super interesting and… well, yes, I just need to know more!

Buy Link: Amazon


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