Wednesday, 8 July 2015

So I Read Trees: Volume 1

A 250 word (or less) review of Trees: Volume 1
by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard; Image Comics

Trees is the modern Invasion Science Fiction story. In the comic aliens have invaded Earth in the form of giant "Trees", massive, inscrutable pillars that take root in the ground and tower over humanity. And nothing else. The aliens, it seems, have come to Earth with no interest in interacting with humanity, with communicating peacefully or subjugating our species. However, giant alien Trees cast a long shadow, and the comic explores how human societies react to these artifacts and the marginal spaces that exist in the roots of the Trees: the permissive Special Culture Zone of artists in China, the fascist gangs filling a power vacuum in Cefalu, Italy, the dictator in Somalia who sees the Trees as a tactical asset, and the researchers of remote Blindhail Station who are convinced something new is happening with the Trees. I call Trees a modern Invasion story because it appears to be using alien invasion as a lens to explore the terrors of modern life. While retro-tales of invasions dealt with fearsome conquerers as a way to maybe deal with emotions of international warfare or quick atomic obliteration, Trees seems to be dealing with the perpetual disasters of global warming, economic collapse, and crumbling heart of Westphalian politics. These are not hot, finite challenges, but rather things we don't completely understand that loam constantly over us, seeming existentially horrifying or uncomfortably mundane at the same time. Trees captures this sense, and explores the human consequences with brilliance and aching empathy. 

Word count: 248

Post by Michael Bround 

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