Story: Warren Ellis
Art: Jason Howard
Colors: Dee Cunniffe
What They Say:
The final issue of TREES, VOL. 3. A small, miserable lie is about to get Klara killed. A huge, terrible lie is about to get everyone else killed. Sometimes we must forgive the dead. Sometimes the dead have to forgive us.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the somewhat out of the blue nature of this series appearing and running for five issues before disappearing again, the Three Fates book ends with this installment and I’m… indifferent? I liked chunks and parts of what Warren Ellis was doing with this series but the big picture and the rest of the work that came before has left me uncertain of the intent here besides a little side story. Which is fine. The big draw for it for me consistently was Jason Howard’s artwork as it was really appealing throughout. This issue even more so as it’s a bit more colorful and vibrant after the washed-out nature of the last few issues. It’s like it’s coming to life here in some big ways with the sun shining through.
With Klara having dealt with Oleg already and knowing what’s coming with Mik, that the confrontation gets forced is no surprise. Mik attempting to take her out in a big way as she’s driving down the road shows the firepower of the weapon that he has and that such a public display doesn’t mean anything in the long run. Of course, it doesn’t take her out and we get a bit of a ragged fight to push through first. It’s a situation where Mik does at least say that he’s not keen on this or wanted this, but the reality is that Nina runs the town and controls everything. And he wants to stay and the right side of that and will do anything and everything he can to make it so. While the event with Oleg threw things off balance more than it should, the reality is that if Nina asked either of them to kill the other, they’d do it.
Mik’s fate is pretty much sealed and that lets the focus go to Nina as Klara can’t let this slide. Her confrontation with her brings out more of the truth of why this all went down. The reveal of the initial person being killed was because he was sent to replace Nina makes sense and it just went off the rails from there because of “her boys” in how they handled it. For Klara, she has to bring an end to it all because Nina has worked this position for decades and in her own way made it as static as it has been, which has been killing it. But I like that she has a sense of duty to bring the body back for the replacement guy, which leads her to a conversation with the ghost of her dead ex. It’s a bit roundabout but it does hint that things are potentially changing when it comes to the Trees but unless there are actual projects on the board coming soon, it’s a tease not worth investing in.
While I can see the very, very, light connections to the 2012 series and what it did, the reality is that this one stands alone well as a side story. It leaves me wanting more of it and more of the main work. Ellis’ work is always interesting on some level and the small-town stuff here is some fun if simple scandinoir style material. What helped to make it a good bit more was Jason Howard’s artwork that gave it a rough and really intense feeling and the little touches of events from the main Trees series. Howard is definitely the star here, however, and what he brings to this issue in particular really helps it to shine, especially with Dee Cunniffe’s colorwork on the book.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics
Release Date: January 8th, 2020