Filed under: Comic Reviews, Vertigo Comics | Tags: Billy, Jeff Lemire, Nika, Trillium, Vertigo
Jeff Lemire has been a relatively new addition to my regular “folks to look out for” list – his work on Animal Man for DC’s New 52 “reboot” was the first real exposure I’d had to his work….and soon after that I met him at Thought Bubble a few years ago. To hear he was working on this sci-fi series had me hyped at first…..and although I didn’t pre-order it at first……it’s on that list now.
The main reason it’s on the list is thanks to works like The Underwater Welder which pretty much blew me away…..although that was followed up by me catching Sweet Tooth which I wasn’t instantly wowed with…..but I may well go back to it. Trillium is a different beast altogether though…..as much for the ingenious approach to the layout for issue #1 as the combination of his writing and fairly unique artistic style.
Two tales converging on one point is how I can best describe that first issue as The Soldier and The Scientist play out in probably one of the best uses of a flip-book style I’ve ever seen. The Scientist in question is Dr Nika Temsmith and this arc follows her quest to help survive an ever-advancing virus that seems set on claiming the science colony on planet Atabithi in the year 3797. The indigenous race living in a local temple seems to be one of their main hopes of survival as their knowledge of the planets strange plant-life (The Trillium in the title) could hold the keys to the solution they’re after. Entering a chamber in the temple and appearing in the jungle, Nika comes face to face with another human in what appears to be an Earth-like jungle.
Cue flip-book and we’re slap bang in a 1920’s with a war-zone flashback of William (Billy) brings us back to the midst of his jungle expedition to recover a secret treasure . A treasure that holds the key to cheating death….a treasure in the form of a hidden plant….sounds familiar right?? So the expedition arrives at a local tribe’s village and they swiftly turn on the group…..Billy makes a run for it and ending up at the nearby temple…..bumps into Nika.
Easing into the second issue we see both travelers trying to understand each other and following a series of crude drawings and writing in the sandy ground…..they connect the dots as Trillium being the one thing they have in common. It’s actually this second issue where the “love story” element begins to gradually develop……that common link that binds the two is more powerful than they both realize and when they both eat some of the leaves…..an instant transference of their stories and an understanding of each other’s language brings a whole new element to the story.
Although this instant connection acts like more of a wake-up call as Nika crosses back to her world as the virus starts to win the battle and another survivor from the attack catches up with Billy. Issue #1 had me convinced to stick with this to see where it goes……but issue #2 has me scrambling to preorder the rest of the series and get my hands on issue #3 ASAP. Lemire thrives when working on a creator owned project which you’d sort of expect from anyone given the freedom that it brings but to reach these heights is still pretty impressive. Lemire’s art style has had its doubters too but for me….I can’t pick out another artistic style that would match the story as well as it does here. He manages to capture the emotions particularly well with the wide-eyed expressions between two star-crossed strangers and this just seems to emphasize the hopeful air that seems to subtly hide on the pages while the backdrop may well be depicting something totally different for both our central characters.
A must-read for Lemire fans and non-fans alike I’d say and if anything this is the exact kind of work he produces that firmly keeps me in that fan category…..two-issues down with six world spanning, universe crossing, time travelling issues to go.
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