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Review – Family Tree #3 (Image Comics)

Family Tree #3 (Image Comics) cover (detail) by Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur
Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10
  • Writing - 8/10
    8/10
  • Art - 7/10
    7/10
  • Overall - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
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Family Tree #3

Writer: Jeff Lemire 
Art: Phil Hester & Eric Gapstur
Colors: Ryan Cody
Letters: Steve Wands
Editor: Will Dennis
Publisher: Image Comics
Maturity Rating: Mature
Release Date: January 22nd, 2019

Megan’s condition continues to branch out at an alarming rate, with seemingly no cure in sight. In an act of pure parental desperation, the family pack up their things and head to the Big Apple in search of answers. Can Megan’s disease be stopped? Or has her fate already taken root?

Growing Like a Weed in Family Tree #3

What would you do for the ones you love? Would you fight for them? Die for them? Kill for them? That’s exactly what Jeff Lemire and Phil Hester are looking to discover in Family Tree #3. It’s an in-depth look at our roots, family ties, and the bonds that make us who we are. 

Writing

Family Tree #3 (Image Comics) cover by Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur
Family Tree #3 (Image Comics) cover by Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur

Once again, Jeff Lemire is bringing all new meaning to the phrase “growing like a weed.” Events are getting seriously out of hand and, as the sense of urgency in Lemire’s writing continues to rise at an alarming pace, things are now beginning to get interesting. Very interesting. Lemire is trimming the branches and peeling back the leaves to reveal a whole new aspect of the story that, as of yet, has remained unseen. 

Known simply as “The Branch”, it appears to be some kind of pocket-dimension, accessible only to those afflicted with Megan’s same strange disease. Here, Megan is visited by a familiar figure from her past. But is it real, or imaginary? Friend or foe?

In Family Tree #3 we see Jeff Lemire adding a psychological element to his writing that, up until now, remained absent the page. It’s kind of like you’re tumbling down a dark rabbit-hole with a flashlight that only works some of the time. You get a glimpse, but not enough to see the whole thing. That’s quintessential Jeff Lemire for you: mysterious and impressionistic until the very end. 

Art

I can’t help but continue to be impressed by the beautiful simplicity of Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur’s artwork. If I could use only one word to describe it, it would be “interpretive”. It allows the reader to “see what they want to see”, in a manner of speaking. It’s intuitive enough to know when to push on the gas and self-aware enough to be able to know when to get out of its own way. Hester and Gapstur’s work permeates the page, creating an incredible synergy of writer and artist. 

In keeping with that train of thought, I have to once again give kudos to Ryan Cody for yet another immaculately colored book. His palette is, once again, darker than the depths of Hell itself; it helps to instill a chilling sense of fear in the reader’s mind. His unconventional method of placing bright colors on black paper is reminiscent of Bruce Timm and Paul Dini’s method from BTAS. I simply can’t say enough good things about this guy and I’m eager to see what more he has in store for us. 

Conclusion

I truly do not understand how Jeff Lemire continues to be able to pump out this much quality comic book content. You’d think that just going by the Law of Averages that he’d be bound to slip up sooner or later. But time and time again he continues to defy the odds and the Fates themselves. Family Tree #3 is yet another excellent chapter in what has become an increasingly exciting horror/mystery story, the likes of which I’ve never quite encountered before. Lemire’s originality is drawn from a bottomless well of inspiration; he is nothing short of a miracle and we are lucky to have him. If Jeff Lemire were a boxer, he’d be Floyd Mayweather: completely and utterly untouchable. 


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