Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Review: Trees vol #1

Book: Trees volume #1: In Shadows by Warren Ellis with illustrations by Jason Howard

Source: Borrowed from Publisher/NetGalley for an honest review

Publication: February 11, 2015


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, a new science fiction graphic novel by Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Red) and Jason Howard (Super Dinoasaur, Astounding Wolf-Man) 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.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars


This was not what I expected, when you read the description you're tempted to think it's going to be some sort of War of the Worlds or Independence Day type of story at some point. However, the majority of the time the aliens (which are tree like structures) are immobile as these mysterious things that had invaded the planet ten years ago.

The story centers around various groups of people around the world with the "Trees" as a possible threat foreshadowed throughout. But it's mainly about how the world or these cities where the aliens have landed are coping. It follows four plots:

In one plot the story follows a young artist Tian Chenglei, who has traveled to a special city in China, where one of the "Trees" resides. It's a place where he can figure out who he is along with meeting new people but underneath all of the artsy lifestyle is a military threat looming.

A second plot focus on a young woman Eligia in Italy tired of being nothing more than arm candy wants out from under the thumb of a local gang leader, who is trying to control everything that is going on in the town. With one of the "Trees" in the town, only those who couldn't afford to leave are stuck there and he is extorting them for all they have.

The third plot follows a group of scientists out on a frozen land studying one of the "Trees" but when one of the scientists Marsh finds something unexpected and starts studying it. The new discovery just might show a sign that a change is occurring with the "Trees".

The last plot follows a Somalian President who is planning to attack a neighboring city and plans to use one of the "Trees" as a base of operation.

The story ends on a cliffhanger with something starting to happen to the "Tree" where the scientists were studying at.

The first volume of Trees was really good and I like that it was different but due to some of the mature subject matter and artwork this is definitely not for young readers. This was an interesting sci-fi story because leaving the aliens in the background you get to see how people are dealing with the new world that they are living in.

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