Story: Warren Ellis
Art: Jason Howard
What They Say:
Chenglei’s life is changing so quickly, under the shadow of the tree over Shu, that he doesn’t know if he can keep up with it. He’s worried that he’s running headlong into something awful. He has no idea what’s really waiting for him in the dark at the end of the line.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With a good bit of character material established and the sense of threat coming, Trees has been building a decent game over its run so far. With this issue, we don’t really get the big hook moment, but we get told what’s happening and it feels like a game changer in the mix. What’s interesting is that we get it in a couple of different ways for different areas of what’s going on. Though there are characters we haven’t seen much of from the start, notably with the guy running for election in New York, what we do get has been shaped in really neat ways so far to build the narrative. All of it within the shadow of the trees. And as the good Professor Luca notes, things don’t really grow well in the shade and you have to be extra wary of what it is.
This installments jumps all over the place a lot with different things going on, from some really nice moments for Chenglei in how he’s growing and changing now that he’s really close with Zhen, to more detailed bits of what Rahim is up to while being interviewed as Puntland begins an attack on Somalia. There’s some really neat things going on there that leave me really curious to see the path as Rahim makes it clear how many roles he’s played as President and that he’s going to the hardest one now. The best material in this issue for me focuses on Marsh though, as the others have realized what it is he’s discovered about the plants and why he was so intent on finishing out, waiting just a little longer as he realized that the Trees are about to talk. What he didn’t do right was the scale of his numbers though and it looks like their talking may prove to be an ecological disaster for the island they’re on at the least, if not much further. That threat is now looming in a wholly different way.
The other piece that comes close continues to be what Eligia is doing as she receives continual instruction from Luca. She’s really managed to gain a lot of information after pressing Tito and then Davide, and has realized that Tito has definitely not been doing things to full potential. Now that she understands more, she’s eager to move forward with everything, which includes getting rid of Tito. She and Luca have some interesting discussions, first about her and then him about the Trees and a touch of why he’s doing all of this, but it culminates in how many power struggles do in that one party doesn’t realize that someone is completely coveting their power and will remove them however they can. Seeing her partner with Davide was a bit of a surprise, but I can also see him potentially being really expendable. What she does next will really be interesting in how she might reshape Cefalu, especially if the balance with the Trees in the world changes soon.
The dynamics of change are fully in play here, from the love blooming and changing Chenglei and Zhen to Eligia taking control of her life, while being controlled by Luca. And all of this is unknowingly playing in the shadow of not just the Trees themselves, but what Marsh and his group have finally pieced together. Something that should have been realized earlier, but the divisions there made it difficult on top of years of complacency coming into play since the Trees hadn’t done anything in so long. All of this is also being balanced on the events in Somalia as well, which is its own special brand of uncertainty since the smallest of the Trees there could be a player in a very different way as events unfold. The next installment can’t get here soon enough.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: November 26, 2014