‘Ghost Tree #4:’ Advance Comic Book Review

At long last, the final issue of Ghost Tree is nearing release. I've reviewed this series from beginning to end, and, looking back, I couldn’t be more glad that I did. Some comics exist purely for entertainment while others strive to become transformative in their medium. Ghost Tree sits comfortably in the latter column, alongside other comics I’ve reviewed such as A Girl in the Himalayas, Green River Killer, and Waves. It’s series like these that show what the comic book genre can truly do.

Which brings us to Ghost Tree #4. Issue #4 wraps up the story of series protagonist Brandt and his family. Brandt is a young man in a failing marriage who retreats to his grandparents' home in Japan to try and collect his thoughts and figure out what he’ll do with his life. While there, he discovers the titular Ghost Tree, where ghosts gather to discover their purpose after life. Reunited with a lost love and his grandfather who passed ten years earlier, Brandt is forced to choose between the ghost tree and his life in America.

Visually speaking, I don’t have much new to say about Ghost Tree #4 compared to its predecessors. The artwork remains gorgeous, and the color usage is back in full force. There aren’t many memorable panels, but that feels deliberate. Everything this time is meant to complement the narrative which rightly takes center stage for the finale.

The culmination of the characters' stories are so sincere and emotional that I wouldn't dare spoil them here. All I’ll say is that Ghost Tree concludes in a bittersweet farewell. I've struggled while writing this review as to whether I like the ending. It's a strange thing to say; the ending is an honest one, but not exactly the ending I wanted. Ultimately, that conflicted feeling fits the theme. It may not satisfy everyone, but had they played it safe and given the ending I expected, it wouldn't have been as impactful.

And that’s what this is: impactful. I thought this series would be a fun Japanese ghost story when I picked it up originally, but it isn't a story about ghosts at all - not in the literal sense at least. It's a story about memories and how easy it is to hide in memories instead of facing the future. The Ghost Tree is seductive, not because it’s supernatural, but because it’s a gateway to the past, to lost loved ones and easier times.

It’s no secret that I recommend Ghost Tree. It won’t be for everyone. If you’re a tried and true superhero fan or prefer grit and action, this series will probably be a bore. Ghost Tree will hit hardest for those of us with special connections to family and memories of loved ones now passed on. It’s a story that will stick with you in trying times, when you’d give anything to get lost in those memories.


Creative Team: Bobby Curnow (Writer), Simon Gane (Artist), Ian Herring (Colorist), Becka Kinzie (Colorist), Chris Mowry (Letterer), Takuma Okada (Consultant)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
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