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Trillium #1

Written by Jeff Lemire

Illustrated by Jeff Lemire

Colors by Jeff Lemire and Jose Villarrubia

“Two disparate souls separated by thousands of years and hundreds of millions of miles. Yet they will fall in love and, as a result, bring about the end of the universe.”

I’m man enough to say it, Jeff Lemire makes me cry on a consistent basis. Whether it be the wistful vistas of Essex County, the aquatic depths of The Underwater Welder or the bleak future of Sweet Tooth, the man always seems to cut through my heart like a hot knife through butter. Now he brings us Trillium #1 a new sweeping science fiction mini series that doesn’t bring the tears quite yet, but delivers a spectacular first issue that sees the writer/artist take his work to the next level.

A people on the edge of annihilation, a mysterious temple on the outskirts of the known galaxy, a traumatized survivor of of WWI, and an expedition for the Lost Temple of the Incas. I’ve never read a story quite like the one Jeff Lemire is spinning here. First off it’s important to note the deft hand the writer uses to navigate the sheer amount of information that needs to be pervade onto his audience. There is always a danger in too much exposition weighing down a science fiction narrative, but here Lemire uses story beats and organic character motivations to communicate the vital information we need to enjoy the story. Secondly, it’s refreshing the amount of freedom afforded to the aforementioned readers of Trillium. You literally have a choice in what way you experience this first chapter of the story and I think it gives the reader agency over who their “main  character” is.  I’m sure this will change as the story proceeds, but the very fact the option was there blew my mind.

There are many seeds planted in Trillium #1 and it’s a testament to Mr. Lemire that the ones I’m least interested in, those of the ongoing mythology of the future timeline, are still utterly fascinating. They however, pale in comparison to the emotional narrative being arranged.  The same can be also said about our two main characters. Nika is facing the end of her entire species and yet the snippets we see of her relationship with a long lost mother enthrall me much more than the oncoming apocalypse. Our other protagonist, William, is a PTSD affected mess of a man, who is running towards certain death to escape a horrible past. In fact, the flashbacks we get to his time in the war are the threads I most want to see explored.

I took to Mr. Lemire’s simple, yet emotional faces from the first time I opened up an issue of Sweet Tooth to the last tearful pages of The Underwater Welder, and so I was looking forward to another book in the classic Lemire style. What I got instead is something that takes a giant leap forward in almost every way. The art in Trillium #1 is a more varied, more detailed and more lusciously colored comic that delivers a breadth and scope I’ve never seen in Lemire’s work. Make no mistake though, it does all this while still retaining the raw emotion and expressive faces he has become so known for. William is very much a vintage Lemire face, but Nika is a wholly different look for the artist. Her features, along with her nose, are much smaller and feminine and her hair takes on a texture previously absent from Lemire’s character work.  In short, the visuals in this book blew me away.

Verdict:

Buy It – There may be other writers I favor month to month and a bevy of artists I find more aesthetically pleasing, but when Jeff Lemire combines his talents there is no one in comics I’d rather be reading. His work is deeply emotional, clever and strikingly original, while his art creates fantasy worlds I want to live in.  Make no mistake though, Trillium #1 isn’t a whimsical lark. This is a book about real problems and the perils of the human condition. So, if you want a story  by a true auteur of the comic medium then pick up Trillium #1 by Jeff Lemire. You can’t go wrong.

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