Where the first issue of Family Tree from Jeff Lemier and Phil Hester planted an intriguing and otherworldly story and sprouted branches of interesting story ideas, the third issue has taken root to give us a few answers. Of course, not everything can be revealed right away, as we’re left with seemingly more questions than answers (in a good way), and, as the saying goes, we witness the classic case of no good deed going unpunished.
Within the story, I’d like to learn more about the antagonists and villains; I feel like there is more to be mined from them. Although we start to see more of the metaphysical aspects of turning into a tree (sort of like a collective hive mind), not much else goes on. It’s almost as though it’s the calm before the storm, but it still feels a little empty, especially given the father/daughter reunion of Darcy and Meg. They’re kind of the centralized point of the story, but it really just feels as though they’re little more than a living MacGuffin to move the story along. But with a series that’s only three issues in, it’s still way too early to tell if this is the reality of the characters and of the series as a whole. There are a lot of questions still unanswered which adds to the overall mystery and ambience of the series. Judd has dealt with these very well-connected cultists before, and there seems to be more going on with the interconnected world of the tree people.
Hester’s artwork continues to use the minimalist approach, and for a series focused on mystery, it feels appropriate. It’s sometimes easy to go over the top with art choices, especially in these kinds of stories with cult-like enemies and people turning into trees, but it takes talent to utilize the space effectively. The New York scenes are a nice contrast to the first issue’s middle-of-nowhere, small town America.
Family Tree #3 may not be heavy on action or moving the plot forward, but that’s kind of the thing with these stories when they’re first planted. You get to watch them grow and branch out in fascinating, new ways. It takes time, but the fruits of Lemire and Hester’s labor will be made evident. And, I honestly can’t wait.
Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (story), Phil Hester (art), Ryan Cody (art), Eric Gapstur (art)
Publisher: Image Comics
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