Monday, 30 June 2014

Trees #1 Review (Warren Ellis, Jason Howard)

“Ten years since we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe but that they did not recognise us as intelligent or alive”

Giant alien tubes, or “trees”, have been planted across the globe. They spew noxious green ooze, poisoning cities and melting people, and the presence of this extraterrestrial tech has changed the world. New York City has flooded, while in China, a cultural city has sprouted up around one of the trees. Humanity has been brought to its knees by an unseen alien race who didn’t even bother fighting us, but seems to have used our planet as a giant septic tank! How do we fight back against this impossible force?! 

Warren Ellis’ new Image series is an interesting take on the alien invasion storyline and the first issue introduces readers to this strange scenario, asking more questions than it answers, as is its wont. To mirror the global effect these trees have had on the planet, the story takes place around the world with a storyline in Brazil, America, China and Norway, all underlining the chaos the trees have brought about. 

You can tell this is a Warren Ellis comic because of the misanthropic angle the aliens take and it’s easy to imagine Ellis’ grin at imagining Earth being used as a dumping ground for alien waste. That and the dialogue of course: “You would be young Chenglei, from Pigshit Village in scenic Incest Province, yes?” and the deadpan humour “Are you trying to sing again, Marsh? You’ve been warned about that.” 

It’s a decent first issue that doesn’t do much more than set up the series going forward. We’re barely introduced to the characters and it’s unclear exactly what the story is - we’ve been conditioned by numerous books/movies to think that if aliens attack, then humanity must fight back and prevail, which I assume is the story here; though it’s Ellis, so expect the unexpected. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wipes out humanity and lets the aliens win! But the number of intriguing questions it raises, plus the author, means I’ll definitely be back to see where it’s headed. 

3.5 stars

Trees #1

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